Vikram Kailas, MD and CEO, Mytrah Energy.
How well is the sector growing? Where does India on a global scale?
Wind energy has been identified as a potential response to India´s crucial power challenges since the 1990s. Since then, no other renewable energy source has attained the level of maturity that wind power has, and even after a good 25 years, we still await the full potential of this renewable source to be realized. Currently generating just over 28 GW, the wind power sector has undergone a major shift in India. From being an investment that provides tax credits to mainstream Independent Power Producers (IPPs), the sector still leaves much more avenues to be explored. This power, if used to its full potential, can take India´s growth to unchartered shores.
How is wind to compete with a strongly emerging solar sector?
The new draft of the renewable energy law that was tendered last year puts forward institutional support that´s required to achieve renewable energy goals. A plan is also in place to build supporting ecosystems that include resource assessment, testing facilities and monitoring and verification programs. Policies are also in place to boost local manufacturing.
The union budget of 2015 saw the government quadrupling the target of renewable energy to 175 GW by 2022-ùsplit between 100 GW solar, 60 GW wind, 10 GW biomass and 5 GW small-hydro power. With renewable energy becoming a major focus of the government, policy makers, along with field experts, are increasingly waking up and taking stock of the true potential of wind power. Wind farms are being set up with the latest technology, large-scale MW-class wind turbines, inclusive operation and maintenance practices for sustainable plant life, logistics tools for construction, while maintaining seamless grid integration.
Kindly elaborate on technology evolutions that the sector has witnessed?
The renewable energy space is abuzz with the arrival of state-of-the-art technology. Hub heights are progressively increasing; what used to be a standard height of 80 metres in the past has now increased to 100 metres-plus, which makes it possible for renewable energy companies to tap into a larger number of locations that were earlier not considered viable for wind energy.
Over the last few years, blades have got progressively longer - from around 97 metres to around 116 metres (and a projected 150 metres over the coming years) - increasing the sweep area and enhancing the electricity produced from each wind turbine.
Carbon is progressively replacing fibreglass as the material of choice for making blades, allowing rotation even at low wind speeds of 2-3 metres per second, which again opens up a large number of prospective geographies for setting up windmills. Wind farms are getting progressively digitised. Scores of algorithms are being written that make it possible for blade direction to proactively change in line with changing wind directions and speeds, thereby boosting operating efficiencies. The result is that increased plant load factors through technological improvements could transform the face of the sector.
Globally the wind industry has accelerated big data usage and India too is moving swiftly in the same direction for efficient, cost effective and smarter solution offering. Kindly share details about projects that you are working on.
Mytrah Energy has emerged as one of India´s leading renewable energy IPPs with an active pipeline of 3,000 MW wind and solar energy generation out of which 1,000 MW of wind power projects are already operational and another 1,000 MW of wind and solar power projects is under construction.
The operational wind power projects are spread across 16 projects in eight states in India, built over a period of less than six years. Mytrah has built end-to-end capabilities in wind-resource monitoring and assessment, permissions/approvals, land acquisition, EPC, ESMS and asset management.
What are the challenges you face in the segment?
Land has been the major bottlenecks for faster implementation of large scale projects in India which can be dealt with the concept of wind farms.
Dependence on import of advanced WTGs entails foreign exchange risks, import taxes and duties which can be addressed by incentivising setting up of manufacturing units in India, which has already set ambitious target for large scale renewable generations.
Credit rating of off-takers being distribution companies are not promising and may be enhanced by the government/banks with additional guarantees and/or credit enhancement mechanisms.
Delays in payment and dishonouring of PPAs continue to be a risk for the investors, which may be addressed by centralising the functions procurement with adequate payment security to reduce this concern.
Readiness of evacuation infrastructure i.e. green corridor to cater the overall renewable capacity addition which could avoid congestion and back down.
What are your plans in India for the wind segment?
We have an active pipeline of 3,000 MW wind and solar energy generation out of which 1,000 MW of wind power projects are already operational and another 1,000 MW of wind and solar power projects is under construction. We possess the experience, passion, knowledge and funding to make this happen and in the process, emerging as one of the fastest growing renewable energy companies in the world. Mytrah Energy shall be one of the major participants in all the upcoming auctions for wind and solar projects being conducted by various nodal agencies in India. We aim to win as many MWs as possible without limits, if returns keep flowing and leads to growth and making money for the firm.