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India's Ministry of Non Conventional Energy Sources (MNES) is aiming at a goal of 2000 MW of renewable energy plant installed by March, 1997. The goal was announced by non conventional energy minister, Professor PJ Kurient at last month's International Conference on Power Electronics, Drives and Energy Systems '96. The conference attracted 500 delegates. "We hope to increase this contribution from renewables in total installed power capacity to around 15% by the year 2010," added Kurient. India now has over 350 MW of wind plant running.

The Indian wind sector's concern about the lack of trained personnel for operating and maintaining wind farms was a major focus of the conference. "We need to deliberate on methods of training to develop the human resources to handle new technologies. India's large technical manpower must be put to maximum use," said Kurient. A panel discussion on the problem concluded that research and development in India must address local problems. Control systems, generators, overheating and wind farm monitoring were all areas of wind technology which India needed to get to grips with.

Concern was expressed that many of the major developers of Indian wind farms had no interest in the finer details of the technology. As a result they were becoming increasingly reliant on foreign companies. "Globalisation can only make sense of it enhances the technological base of India, not decreases it," commented one panel member.

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