Siting wind plant offshore, development of electric wind pumps and development of hybrid renewables plant are three areas of wind technology which are being neglected on the Indian market.

From Dr A Jagadeesh, Nayudamma Centre for Development Alternatives, Nawabpet, Nellore, Andhra Pradesh, India.

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As usual I found the February and March issues of Windpower Monthly interesting and stimulating. In India there is enormous interest in wind energy and several private companies are keen on entering the wind business. But there are areas of policy and technology which are being neglected.

The main constraint on development is finding good wind sites. In the economics of wind power, any small increase in wind velocity contributes significantly to power output. With soaring land prices at places like Muppandal in Tamil Nadu, where wind farms are already running, an alternative approach has to be found. Winds across open sea are much higher than on land and offshore wind farms could be developed in India. The extra output would be a significant factor, despite the added cost.

Another neglected innovation in developing countries is wind pumps through electrical routing. Compared to mechanical wind pumps, the electric wind pump has many advantages: it can be sited in the best place, which is not necessarily on top of the pump; the global efficiency is higher in good wind regimes; the drilling of the well is easier because it does not have to be vertical; the pump can be fed alternatively by a diesel generator or the electric grid; a wide range of commercial electric pumps are available; as well as pumping water, the wind turbine can provide electric power in remote sites; the reliability is higher and maintenance requirements lower; and a higher pumping power can be obtained with a single unit.

Finally, there is an unexplored potential in hybrid renewables plant. An integrated approach is needed to promote hybrid systems like wind-solar plant, where the sun can supplement windless days. Also wind-diesel hybrid systems utilising furnace oil as input (since it is available under Open General Licence) would be a boon in remote areas without electricity where they could provide power on a sustainable basis.

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