wind power: OPINION: Have the wind in your sails

New Delhi: The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) crisis of the 1970s alarmed India and its leaders and led to the establishment of the Commission for Supplementary Energy Sources (CASE) within the Department of Science and Technology from the Government of India. In 1992, CASE became the Ministry of Unconventional Energy Sources (MNES), which was renamed the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) in 2006. It was during the time of CASE that India deployed its first commercial wind project. Until then, alongside energy security, wind power is now also seen as an important driver of climate change mitigation and the transition to clean energy.

With nearly 41 GW of installed onshore wind power capacity and a cumulative capacity target of 140 GW by 2030, the MNRE is mobilizing its efforts to exploit both onshore and offshore wind power. Unmet annual onshore wind capacity targets have caught the attention of government and the private sector, it is only in recent years that massive corrective and facilitative measures have been introduced by central government – ​​the trajectory of the obligation Renewable Wind Power Purchase (RPO) one of them. In the recently amended guidelines for 24-hour renewable energy supply (RTC), revised terms of payment security and power purchase agreement period, among others, have relieved developers from projects.

The idea of ​​exploiting the full potential of wind energy must not remain confined to the decarbonisation of the electricity sector. First, there needs to be a greater focus on supporting the net zero goals of government, business and other key stakeholders. Second, since socio-economic benefits arise from both wind power generation and wind power manufacturing, attractive arrangements must be designed to advance both. I mention below five priority areas that could transform the face of the Indian wind sector.

First, there must be strong arguments for major wind turbine manufacturers to expand their facilities in the country. While large-scale wind projects involve high-level engineering work, wind turbine manufacturing involves precision work and the installation of customized machinery by MSMEs to meet the specific product and quality requirements of large wind manufacturers. original equipment (OEM). Between 2016-17 and 2021-22, wind power manufacturing resulted in a net trade surplus for the country. However, as outlined in the recently released India Wind Power Market Outlook 2022-2026, recent price spikes and market volatility have limited operations. More importantly, the shrinking domestic market has bucked the pace of expansion. According to the Global Wind Report 2022, India accounts for 8.5% of global wind turbine manufacturing capacity. Given estimates by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the IEA of global wind energy capacity needs by 2050 to meet climate goals, there is huge potential for expansion of India’s share in the global wind supply chain. The competitiveness and sustainability of OEMs and MSMEs should be further supported by central and state governments through necessary enabling measures. Second, a facelift for wind power generation and manufacturing may occur if there is a rapid acceleration in onshore and annual wind power demand. capacity addition targets are met within stipulated timeframes. It could also solve more of the difficulties faced by the entire Indian onshore wind manufacturing sector in the domestic market. The central government has indicated several policy measures that could boost the participation of the seven states with high wind potential – Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. At the same time, states such as Karnataka have themselves proactively taken supportive measures to harness wind power. In Tamil Nadu, which leads the current installed onshore wind capacity in India, Guidance Tamil Nadu has proactively engaged with the wind sector to facilitate the required support to the manufacturing segment. In the draft National Electricity Plan (NEP) for generation, the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has suggested (a) 40.5 GW of capacity addition during the period 2022-27 for meet peak demand and energy needs for the year 2026-27 and (b)a capacity addition of 53.1 GW (43.1 GW onshore and 10 GW offshore) during the period 2027-32 for meet peak demand and energy needs for the year 2031-32. A recent publication recommended pooling electricity demand from DISCOMs at graduated intervals to reduce any gap between demand and supply as well as to gain more proactive support from state agencies.

Third, thanks to the very enthusiastic and commendable efforts of the MNRE and the National Wind Energy Institute (NIWE) in recent years, a new momentum for offshore wind is now being created. Offshore wind, which is relatively complex compared to any other mature renewable energy (RE) technology due to the level of engineering involved and also due to the nature of the site characteristics of the project implementation, requires a necessary enabling environment and greater consensus between industry and government as well as a strong partnership between the states and the center. Through the tender trajectory notification, the center has already indicated the types of volumes that are expected in the future. However, strong business risk mitigation measures are key to attracting healthy pioneer participation in this space.

Fourth, to boost renewable energy lending, the center reportedly suggested a bifurcation of renewable and conventional energy lending. Government and industry can appreciate that lending to the wind sector could face fierce competition from solar power, which has a relatively shorter project completion time and is relatively less constrained by the characteristics of the site. Moreover, reducing project costs and time cannot be seen as a function of economies of scale and technological advances alone. States need to adopt a mission-mode approach to contain project implementation hurdles that renewable energy projects face, which could eventually lower the overall cost of lending. In addition, supportive policy measures to reduce climate variability shocks should be considered by central and state governments. For example, an unexpected large drop in wind speed, something beyond the control of an electricity generator, could lead to a massive drop in the plant load factor (PLF) of a commissioned wind project. . Therefore, adequate policy measures should be introduced to also encourage adaptation measures in the clean energy sector. Next, the timely execution of large-scale green power projects to meet the 1.5 degree target is essential, however, the financial viability of several wind projects has been affected due to recent force majeure events. . Therefore, to cope with jolts due to regional and global force majeure events (such as wars, unexpected supply chain issues, or pandemic) and preserve the continued viability of green energy project pipelines On a large scale, the institutionalization of separate agility infusion funds, targeting the clean energy sector in developing countries, can be considered by financial institutions and multilateral/bilateral institutions.

Fifth, avoiding long-term local, regional and global climate shocks requires a rapid transition to clean energy. India’s bold COP targets signaled its commitments, which are aimed at harnessing its diverse and renewable energy-rich resource base. Complementarity between renewable energy fuels and technologies is essential to ensure grid balancing, system dependency and energy security. Diversifying the RE power mix improves country and state readiness to provide RTC green power access. Rather than promoting price competition alone, emphasis must also be placed on complementarity. Initiatives such as the Green Grids Initiative — One Sun, One World, One Grid (GGI — OSOWOG) could also benefit from such harmonization.

There are several likely policy reforms to harness the wind potential distributed among the states and to revamp the auction regime, which the Indian wind industry sees as a beacon of hope. Only with larger annual successful tender volumes, accelerated annual capacity deployments (a minimum of 5 GW or more of onshore wind capacity) and an improved enabling environment for offshore wind and increased manufacturing capacity that ambitious policy reforms can be said to have helped India is on the rise. This certainly requires stronger, synergistic and innovative partnerships between state and non-state actors.

[This piece was written exclusively for ETEnergyworld by Martand Shardul, Policy Director, Global Wind Energy Council India, and a former Fellow at TERI. Views expressed are personal]

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