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Interaction | October 2014

India has potential to repower 2 GW of wind projects

Since the government has plans to add 10,000 MW of capacity, the concept of repowering existing projects can certainly ease pressure on this sector, says Ramesh Kymal, CMD, Gamesa India.

The concept of repowering projects is still new and the potential of such projects has so far remained untapped in the country. If a company undertook such projects as part of its strategy, would it be able to grab a major share of this market?

The estimated potential of repowering in India is 2,000 MW or 2 GW based on an Energetica report. A suitable compensation framework has to be devised that will enable the incentivisation of the current owners. There has to be development of suitable regulatory framework that will simplify the issues related to power purchase agreements (PPAs). Repowering has not taken off in the manner it was anticipated. Gamesa on the other hand has been promoting the life extension program, wherein an old wind turbine´s life can be extended beyond its designed life by additional maintenance work. This will ensure the turbine is capable of generating power for extended time prolonging the need of repowering.

What are your suggestions to drive the growth of wind energy?
The sector is facing bottlenecks in terms of long term policy visibility, complex approvals procedures, lack of reliable grid infrastructure, expensive funding, lack of uniform policy across the country, poor compliance of RPO regulations, etc. We believe a National Wind Mission will be able to address all these bottlenecks which in turn will help to accelerate the growth of the sector.

Wind energy, which had been overshadowed by solar projects in recent years, got a big boost as the government has restored key tax incentives. Your observations...

Wind has been the front-runner in the renewable space in India and has grown steadily over the years contributing to over 8 per cent of India´s power sector. Accelerated depreciation has always been the catalyst for the growth of wind power in India over the years. The extension of AD is positively welcomed by small scale industries looking for tax savings and we expect the industry to add an additional capacity of 500-1,000 MW this year.

What are your views on the Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) mechanism, Generation-based Incentive (GBI) and Accelerated Depreciation introduced by CERC?
GBI and AD has fostered the growth of wind power in the country over the years. India was able to achieve over 3,100 MW with both AD & GBI working in tandem in 2011-12. Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), on the other hand, have been struggling to find their space in the wind market due to lack of Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) compliance. We expect with a stricter enforcement of RPO to the obligated entities, REC could be a great tool to enhance wind power development in India.

How much capacity have you installed in the country and what is the outlook for the year?
In little over four years of its inception, Gamesa has commissioned over 1,400 MW of wind turbines in India. We are expecting to install 800 MW in the current year.

Rahul Kamat
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