The government of the state of Maharashtra in central west India has set a new target for installed wind plant to reach 100 MW by the end of the current financial year, March 2000. Last year, 25 MW was commissioned by private developers. The state has adopted the renewable energy guidelines laid down by the Ministry of Non Conventional Energy Sources, which allow for banking of power to avoid future power cuts, wheeling electricity over the grid of the Maharashtra State Electricity Board (MSEB) and third party sales. MSEB has also agreed to contribute to grid infrastructure costs for uptake of wind power, with 50% to be met by the Maharashtra Electricity Development Agency (MEDA). MSEB has also agreed to bear any transmission losses for three years. Further, Build-Operate-Transfer projects will not be required to pay sales tax for six years, in addition to the existing income tax benefits already in place for wind investments. According to a study by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, there is a potential for 500 MW of wind plant at four specific locations in Maharashtra. Of this about 300 MW is located at Vankusawade, in the Satara district. The area, in the backwaters of the Koyna dam, has high moisture density, with good quality wind, says P.S. Salunkhe of MSEB. MEDA has already leased 3000 hectares at Vankusawade and plans to acquire another 100 hectares from the state revenue department.
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