Lack of state policies slows wind growth -- India adds 195 MW

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Although the Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources (MNES) continued to struggle to convince state governments to implement national policy guidelines set for wind power projects, India's wind energy capacity continued to grow in 2002, although at a slower rate than in 2001. Some 195 MW was installed last year, bringing India's wind capacity to 1702 MW by the end of 2002. While this represents a 13% increase on the 1507 MW capacity installed by the end of 2001, it is less than 2001's 23.5% increase on the previous year. With many states, such as Maharashtra, having withdrawn the favourable policies for wind in 2002 that existed in 2001, the slower growth had been expected.

The battle for the re-introduction of favourable state policies continues, but with 150 MW of wind expected to be added between January and the end of March, when India's financial year ends, and significant projects planned for the rest of 2003, the conflict over state politics has not dampened industry hopes entirely. NEG Micon (India), expects to install 130 MW this year and is planning for an annual growth of about 30% in the following four to five years, largely though as a result of increasing its share of turbine exports from India. "We are looking at exporting US$30 million this year and targeting year-on-year growth in exports in the range of 25%," says the company's Ramesh Kymal. The company has a manufacturing facility at Chennai for production of its 750 kW and 950 kW turbines, although it also has the potential to make its 1.5 MW turbine there too.

LM Glasfiber's strong position in India continues, with the company's Nirmal Gupta suggesting it is maintaining its 50-55% share of blade supply. It equipped around 135 MW of the 240 MW installed during the current financial year so far. Newcomer to India GE Wind Energy has 15 MW of its turbines installed in the country. "We are well on the way to adding 30 MW more by the end of 2003," says the company's Sushil Dhyani. "This will be achieved by installing our 1.5 MW turbines with the region's first 1.5 MW turbines installed in Tamil Nadu by mid year." Vestas RRB installed 21 MW last year and has 30 MW in the pipeline for this year, primarily in Tamil Nadu. Indowind's 13.5 MW wind farm project is already under construction, says vice president R. Balajee. "We are hopeful of commissioning it by March, 2004."

New wind region

In West Bengal, with a potential renewables generation of 780 MW, the remaining 1 MW of a 2 MW demonstration wind project (funded by MNES) at Frasergunj in the Sundarbans will go up this year. Meanwhile, West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency (WBREDA) is becoming Green Power Corporation and has plans to significantly increase its wind development activity. WBREDA received half a million dollars from the India-Canada Environment Facility for a wind-diesel hybrid power project in Gangasagar in the Sundarbans, the first phase of which has been completed using two 50 kW machines supplied by Atlantic Orient. The second phase -- installation of eight 50 kW turbines -- is scheduled for completion by the end of 2003. The project, which already supplies 200 consumers, was the first of its kind in Asia.

With the change in its structure, WBREDA, which was set up in 1993 as an agency under the State Science and Technology Department, will come under the jurisdiction of the State Power Department. Analysts say the agency is capable of sustaining itself with grants from the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency and the state government. Significantly, rather than the small 2 MW projects it currently has in its portfolio, it plans to develop larger projects of around 25 MW once it becomes a corporation.

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