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India powers towards renewable energy: Part I


SAROSH BANA

Corrective measures are now reinvigorating India’s Renewable Energy sector, which had been marred by uncertainty, and abrupt changes, in policy in the last two years. Business India executive editor Sarosh Bana reports.

India’s new government that was sworn in on 26 May has roused hopes of an economic revival driven by wide-ranging reforms, including the revitalisation of the country’s somnolent renewable energy sector. 

India had once been primed as one of the world’s most vibrant markets for renewables, as the energy-starved country of 1.25 billion started diversifying increasingly into renewable energy. But the decline of this sector was spurred as much by the general recession as by policy uncertainty, an inattentive, even indifferent, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), and the inexplicable withdrawal of incentives and abrupt changes in the macro-economic framework governing the industry. It was only towards the end of its term that the Congress-led government took corrective measures to breathe new life into this business.

Much is now expected of the new government of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that swept away the Congress in a landslide electoral triumph. It is, after all, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who owes much of his mandate to the spectacular manner in which he bolstered the economy and business environment of the western state of Gujarat of which he was Chief Minister since 2001. 

In 2009, Gujarat under him became the first state to outline a policy dedicated to solar power. This prompted the central government to launch its Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) the following year. Gujarat’s 860.4 MW of solar capacities installed till 31 January 2014 overshadow even the 666.75 MW of the desert state of Rajasthan. The state is catching up in wind power capacities as well, being currently third, with 3,384 MW, after Tamil Nadu’s 7,251 MW and Maharashtra’s 3,472 MW. Notably, 362 MW of its tally was established within the first 10 months of 2013-14 till January 2014, almost a third of the total 1,175 MW of wind capacities added nationally in that period. India’s fiscal year is from 1 April to 31 March. In those 10 months, Maharashtra added 297 MW and Tamil Nadu, 89 MW. 

The development of wind power in India began in the 1990s. The Electricity Act of 2003 formalised grid-connected wind energy by providing for regulatory interventions such as for facilitating grid connectivity, and determining tariff and Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO). 

The independent MNRE, which had made India the only country to have an exclusive ministry for renewable power, has now been merged with the ministries of power and coal to ensure coordinated decision-making and faster implementation of projects. (Newly appointed minister Piyush Goyal intends to visit Gujarat soon to study the best practices of its energy model and his ministry has already started charting “a responsible and comprehensive” National Energy Policy.)

This bodes well for a country that has often seen its industrial and economic growth inhibited by shortfalls in conventional power. Power shortage has devastated India’s business environment, resulting in a GDP loss of US$68 billion - 0.4 per cent of GDP - in 2012-13. 

With unreliable coal (and gas) supplies denting capacity targets, renewables found increased favour. Grid-connected renewable power (there is yet very little off-grid renewable) now accounts for 31,692.14 MW – or 12.9 per cent - of the country’s 245,393.53 MW of installed power capacities. At 20,226 MW, wind has a 63.8 per cent share in renewables and solar PV, 2,600 MW (8.2 per cent). Localised off-grid electricity that serves 10,752 of the country’s 640,867 villages includes 255,000 solar street lights, 993,000 solar home lighting systems, 939,000 solar lanterns and 138 MW of decentralised solar power plants. 

History of turmoil

Few industries in India have been in such prolonged turmoil as power generation, aggravated by poor planning and poorer execution. Work has been suspended on several thermal power plants across the country on account of volatility in coal costs, wavering fuel linkages and lack of policy clarity. Fuel shortfalls have caused around 20,000 MW of new thermal capacity to lie idle. Peak power deficit - shortfall in supply when demand is maximum - reached 5.4 per cent at 7,556 MW in April 2014. Coal-based thermal power, however, still has the major share in India’s installed capacities, of 145,408.39 MW, or 59.3 per cent.

Though the country is the fifth-largest producer and consumer of electricity, after China, the US, Japan and Russia, more than 400 million of its population have no access to electricity. Yearly per capita electricity consumption has increased to 883.63kWh from 566.69 kWh in 2002-03, but still lags far behind the US’ 12,391.37 kWh, Australia’s 10,392.64 kWh, Japan’s 6,749.73 kWh, Russia’s 5,669.47 kWh and China’s 3,493.79 kWh.

India is also the fifth-largest wind power producer, after China, the US, Germany and Spain. Its wind power industry has matured, being now equipped to provide direct-drive, stall-controlled and pitch-controlled turbines ranging from 250 kW to 2.1 MW and with hub heights and rotor sizes upto 100 metres. More than a dozen international companies now manufacture wind turbines in India and they and their Indian counterparts, almost all from the private sector, have the capability to produce more than 9,000 MW per annum and have upwards of 40 models on offer, including turbines designed for low and medium wind regimes. Turbine prices have always been lower than the global average due to lower labour and production costs in the country.

The sector has, however, been marred by several issues of late, and the National Wind Energy Mission (NWEM) is being launched by the middle of this year to rejuvenate it. The Mission seeks to incentivise investments, ease land clearances and regulate tariffs, but unlike JNNSM, will not involve bidding for projects. NWEM has trailed the Solar Mission because while wind energy progressed well, solar had required a boost.

MNRE estimates the installable wind power potential in India for 50-metre mast at 49,130 MW and for 80 metres, 102,788 MW. Solar energy potential is also enormous. About 5,000 trillion kWh per year energy is incident over India’s land area of 3.28 million sq km, with most parts receiving 4-7 kWh per sq m per day. 

Solar milestone

Solar power crossed a major milestone with the addition of just over 1 GW of capacities in the last one year alone, a remarkable build-up over the 47 MW installed in 2010. After a slow start early last year, solar installations are now striding towards the capacity targets of 10 GW by 2017 and 20 GW by 2022.

After the launch in February by New Delhi’s independent power producer (IPP) Welspun Energy of its Rs1,100 crore (US$186.4 million) 151 MW solar power plant, hitherto the country’s largest, in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, six state-owned companies are setting up the world’s biggest solar plant, of 4,000 MW, across 48 sq km of salt plains in Rajasthan. The US$4.4 billion project of crystalline silicon PV modules will supply 6.4 billion kW of energy annually, reducing India’s carbon footprint by over 4 million tonnes of carbon dioxide each year. It will be developed in phases over seven years, the first of 750 MW costing US$1.09 billion to be set up in three years.

The project will be 10 times larger than the world’s largest 400 MW concentrated solar power (CSP) plant commissioned in February in California’s Mojave Desert. The US$2.2 billion Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System comprises three massive generators and 356,000 mirrors covering 8 sq km of land. India has planned four more ultra mega solar PV projects, of 500 MW each, for 2014-15, two in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and one each in Rajasthan and Gujarat. 

New energy model

“The growth of renewable energy has changed the energy business in India,” states the newly released ‘citizen’s report’ on the State of Renewable Energy in India of New Delhi-based policy research and advocacy group, Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). “It has, in many ways, democratised energy production and consumption in the country.” The Centre points out that before renewables gained significance, energy business was all about fossil fuel-based big company and grid-connected power that dominates even today. But now there is an alternate energy market in which thousands of small companies, NGOs and social businesses are involved in selling RE products and generating and distributing renewable-based energy. 

The renewable energy sector in India has, however, fared poorly over the past two years. While 6,761 MW of grid-interactive renewable power was added during the 10th Five Year Plan (2002-07) against a targeted 3,075 MW and 14,661 MW was added during the 11th Plan (2007-12) against a target of 12,230 MW, the decline has been visible from 2011-12, when 4,942.90 MW of RE capacity was installed. It dropped to 3,163.17 MW in 2012-13, the first year of the 12th Plan (2012-17). It seems to be on the mend now, with the commissioning of 3,639.82 MW, 84.16 per cent of the target of 4,325 MW for 2013-14. This included 2,083.3 MW of wind energy, or 83.34 per cent of the targeted 2,500 MW, 962.1 MW of solar, or 87.47 per cent of 1,100 MW, and 171.4 MW of small hydro, or 57.13 per cent of 300 MW. 

The 12th Plan aims for 29,800 MW of RE capacity addition, 15,000 MW of it wind, 10,000 MW solar, 2,100 MW small hydro and 2,700 MW bio-power, including waste to energy. JNNSM is besides looking to add 20,000 MW of grid and 2,000 MW of off-grid solar applications, as also 20 million sq metres of solar thermal collector area by 2022. Wind, solar, biomass and small hydro projects have been allocated Rs135,100 crore (US$22.9 billion), or 9.8 per cent of the total energy outlay of Rs13,72,580 crore (US$232.6 billion) under the 12th Plan. 

“This is not enough,” observes the CSE report. “Largely because of policy uncertainty – some say paralysis – within MNRE,the past two years were a complete washout for the RE sector in India, with investments dipping significantly from US$13 billion in 2011 to US$6.5 billion in 2012.”

This perception is shared by just about all stakeholders in the RE sweepstakes. After a successful implementation of Phase I of the Solar Mission, needless delay in communicating Phase II till beginning 2014 brought about stagnancy in the solar industry. Wind power, too, was derailed by the abrupt revocation of both the Accelerated Depreciation (AD) and Generation Based Incentive (GBI) benefits at the beginning of the 12th Plan. Both benefits had been introduced in 2009 as being complementary to each other.

While GBI was re-introduced a year ago, AD, which had driven 70 per cent of the wind installations, has not been reinstated. The AD benefit, intended to promote wind capacity additions during the initial growth phase and which is still available for solar power producers, had enabled wind farms to claim 80 per cent depreciation of equipment cost. Following its repeal, they can now claim only the standard 15 per cent.

Mahesh Makhija, director of business development (Renewables) at CLP India Pvt. Ltd, the subsidiary of Hong Kong’s CLP Holdings, says AD, alongside the turnkey development of their ventures, attracted high net worth investors not directly in power generation, but who contributed to the initial growth of the wind industry. They, however, opted out after AD was withdrawn. IPPs were expected to move in instead, but prolonged indecision on the continuation of GBI deterred them, too. 

Capacity additions suffered as a result, Makhija notes, with several under construction and planned wind projects coming to a near halt as their developers had factored GBI in when finalising their projects and its absence rendered the projects commercially unviable.

“We believe that both AD and GBI schemes can work exclusive of each other,” Makhija stated. Wind projects of 2,021.29 MW had availed themselves of the GBI benefit and 1,830.43 MW of the AD benefit between March 2010 and October 2012. He feels that though GBI has been re-introduced alongside other corrective steps, RE capacity addition in 2014-15 will fall far short of the 5,920 MW targeted capacities for the year though it is likely to surpass that achieved in 2013-14.

With an investment of around US$1 billion, CLP India is the largest investor in India’s wind sector, having built up a portfolio of 12 wind farms of a cumulative capacity of 1,051 MW. It will be investing an additional US$1 billion to US$1.2 billion to raise the total capacity to 2,000 MW by the end of 2016. 

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Comments

ANUMAKONDA JAGADEESH said

03 July 2014
Excellent.
Here is an action plan to harness Renewables in India:
Bringing in Waste Lands under cultivation to generate Biofuel|Biogas and subsequent power generation:

Alvarez from Mexico and Myself have had been championing the cause and use of Agave and Cactus for Biofuel|Biogas and Subsequent power generation.
I am presenting a case for India for growing these care-free plants in millions of hectares of waste lands in view of multiple uses:
Utilising Waste Lands in India :

There are thousands of Sq.Kms of Waste lands in India.

In this vast area
Renewable Energy ExpertWhy not We grow multiple use plants like Agave,Opuntia which have many uses.

Hitherto Corn and Sugarcane are used in the biofuel production. In the debate on FOOD Vs FUEL, it is necessary to find alternatives.

“Agave has a huge advantage, as it can grow in marginal or desert land, not on arable land,” and therefore would not displace food crops, says Oliver Inderwildi, at the University of Oxford. The majority of ethanol produced in the world is still derived from food crops such as corn and sugarcane. Speculators have argued for years now that using such crops for fuel can drive up the price of food.

Agave, however, can grow on hot dry land with a high-yield and low environmental impact. The researchers proposing the plant’s use have modeled a facility in Jalisco, Mexico, which converts the high sugar content of the plant into ethanol.
The research, published in the journal Energy and Environmental Science, provides the first ever life-cycle analysis of the energy and greenhouse gas balance of producing ethanol with agave. Each megajoule of energy produced from the agave-to-ethanol process resulted in a net emission of 35 grams of carbon dioxide, far below the 85g/MJ estimated for corn ethanol production. Burning gasoline produces roughly 100g/MJ.“The characteristics of the agave suit it well to bioenergy production, but also reveal its potential as a crop that is adaptable to future climate change,” adds University of Oxford plant scientist Andrew Smith. “In a world where arable land and water resources are increasingly scarce, these are key attributes in the food versus fuel argument, which is likely to intensify given the expected large-scale growth in biofuel production.”

Agave already appeared to be an interesting bio ethanol source due to its high sugar content and its swift growth. For the first time Researchers at the universities of Oxford and Sydney have now conducted the first life-cycle analysis of the energy and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of agave-derived ethanol and present their promising results in the journal Energy & Environmental Science.
On both life cycle energy and GHG emissions agave scores at least as well as corn, switchgrass and sugarcane, while reaching a similar ethanol output. The big advantages agave has over the before mentioned plants is that it can grow in dry areas and on poor soil, thus practically eliminating their competition with food crops and drastically decreasing their pressure on water resources.
Plants which use crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM), which include the cacti and Agaves, are of particular interest since they can survive for many months without water and when water is available they use it with an efficiency that can be more than 10 times that of other plants, such as maize, sorghum, miscanthus and switchgrass. CAM species include no major current or potential food crops; they have however for centuries been cultivated for alcoholic beverages and low-lignin fibres.
They may therefore also be ideal for producing biofuels on land unsuited for food production.

In México, there are active research programs and stakeholders investigating Agave spp. as a bioenergy feedstock. The unique physiology of this genus has been exploited historically for the sake of fibers and alcoholic beverages, and there is a wealth of knowledge in the country of México about the life history, genetics, and cultivation of Agave. The State of Jalisco is the denomination of origin of Agave tequilana Weber var. azul, a cultivar primarily used for the production of tequila that has been widely researched to optimize yields. Other cultivars of Agave tequilana are grown throughout México, along with the Agave fourcroydes Lem., or henequen, which is an important source of fiber that has traditionally been used for making ropes. The high sugar content of Agave tequilana may be valuable for liquid fuel production, while the high lignin content of Agave fourcroydes may be valuable for power generation through combustion.

Along with Agave species described above, some other economically important species include A. salmiana, A. angustiana, A. americana, and A. sisalana. Agave sisalana is not produced in México, but has been an important crop in regions of Africa and Australia. Information collected here could thus be relevant to semi-arid regions around the world.

Agave is a CAM Plant. Crassulacean acid metabolism, also known as CAM photosynthesis, is a carbon fixation pathway that evolved in some plants as an adaptation to arid conditions in a plant using full CAM, the stomata in the leaves remains shut during the day to reduce evapotranspiration, but open at night to collect carbon dioxide (CO2). The CO2 is stored as the four-carbon acidmalate, and then used during photosynthesis during the day. The pre-collected CO2 is concentrated around the enzyme RuBisCO, increasing photosynthetic efficiency. Agave and Opuntia are the best CAM Plants.

Agave Competitive Advantages

* Thrives on dry land/marginal land. Most efficient use of soil, water and light
* Massive production. Year-around harvesting
* Very high yields with very low or no inputs
* Very high quality biomass and sugars
* Very low cost of production. Not a commodity, so prices are not volatile
* Very versatile: biofuels, byproducts, chemicals
* World-wide geographical distribution
* Enhanced varieties are ready.

Another care-free growth plant is OPUNTIA.

Biogas from Opuntia

A source of renewable gas and fertilizer

Structure of the proposed process

1st step: Production of Biomass (Opuntia)
2nd step: Process of the Biomass into Biogas through Anaerobic Fermentation
3rd step: Process of the Digested Material into Fertilizer
The potential of Opuntia Biomass for energy production in semi-arid areas
100 to 400 tons of biomass/ha/year
1 ton Opuntia biomass = 50-60 m3 of biogas = 300-360 kWh of gas
30 000 to 140 000 kWh per ha
150 to 400ha necessary for 1MW electrical capacity
High efficiency in water & fertilizer use
Reduced risk for farmers of crop failure due to high drought tolerance. No competition with food crops on arable land as it can grow on degraded land.
Study on renewable biogas energy production from cladodes of Opuntia ficus indica by Elias Jigar, Hameed Sulaiman and Araya Asfaw and Abraham Bairu (ISABB Journal of Food and Agriculture Science Vol. 1(3), pp. 44-48, December 2011) revealed:
Cladodes, which are a plate like section of Opuntia ficus indica, were characterized for their physical properties, total solids (TS) and volatile solides (VS) and they were assessed in five combinations with or without cow dung for their suitability to biogas production in 2.8 L triplicate batch digesters. The highest total biogas yields were obtained from T5 (75% Cow dung: 25% Cladodes combination) as 14.183 L followed by T1 (cow dung alone) as 13.670 L (0 .022 m3/kg) and the lowest was from T2 (Cladodes alone) as 6.176 L. The percentage of methane gas obtained from the experiment for treatments T1, T2, T3 (50% cow dung: 50% cladodes), T4 (25% cow dung: 75% Cladodes) and T5 were 66.33, 53.16, 63.84, 52.1 and 69% respectively. Among all treatments, T5 was found to produce high methane percent of the biogas.
From Biogas, Power generation can be done at local level itself.
Another Option is to utilize Water Hyacinth which has become a menace for Biogas and subsequent power generation. In Indonesia Fine Furniture is made from Water Hyacinth.

Youth Economic Zones(YEZ):
The waste land can be allotted to youth with agricultural background (about 10 acres) on lease and ten such people can form a co-operative. They can grow fast growing care free plants like Agave, Opuntia and Jatropha. Biogas and biofuel can be generated at local level. Biogas power plants from KW size to MW size are available commercially from China. This way unemployment problem can be solved to some extent and the waste land can be brought under use.

VOCATIONAL EDUCATION & TRAINING:

Vocational education (education based on occupation or employment), also known ascareer and technical education (CTE) or technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is education that prepares people for specific trades, crafts and careers at various levels from a trade, a craft, technician, or a professional position in engineering,accountancy, nursing, medicine, architecture, pharmacy, law etc. Craft vocations are usually based on manual or practical activities, traditionally non-academic, related to a specific trade, occupation, or vocation. It is sometimes referred to as technical education as the trainee directly develops expertise in a particular group of techniques.

Vocational education may be classified as teaching procedural knowledge. This can be contrasted with declarative knowledge, as used in education in a usually broader scientific field, which might concentrate on theory and abstract conceptual knowledge, characteristic of tertiary education. Vocational education can be at the secondary, post-secondary level,further education level and can interact with the apprenticeship system.

Increasingly, vocational education can be recognised in terms of recognition of prior learning and partial academic credit towards tertiary education (e.g., at a university) as credit; however, it is rarely considered in its own form to fall under the traditional definition of higher education.
Vocational education is related to the age-old apprenticeship system of learning. Apprenticeships are designed for many levels of work from manual trades to high knowledge work.

Our school education system offers combinations of courses in the higher secondary level such that a student by choosing these groups can pursue engineering or medicine, even though these two streams call for entirely different aptitudes. The ideal higher secondary system would orient the student towards evaluating their aptitude and choosing to pursue one of the two streams. This would ensure that the chosen stream matches their aptitude. This is not happening now.

In the absence of proper orientation in the system, parents and their wards follow an inappropriate procedure while selecting their branch of study in the college. During counselling, we notice that the selection of a branch of study is based on the following: (1) The most sought-after branch in counselling, (2) The branch having good job opportunities as seen by the previous year placements, (3) Parental pressure and (4) Peer pressure.
This is not the right practice. The correct way will be to spend some time assessing one’s interest for a particular branch and check if it matches well with the aptitude one has and the chosen branch of study.
It is because of such practices that we face problems of employability and dissatisfaction in existing jobs, which can lead to high turnover rates, low productivity and increase in the stress level of employees.
India produces 50 lakh graduates every year. Experts say with poor English language skills, computer training and analytical ability, making the cut from the classroom to the boardroom is not easy.
According to Labour Bureau’s “Third Annual Employment & Unemployment Survey 2012-13” released on (November 29, 13), unemployment rate amongst illiterate youth is lower than educated youth. A comparison with the earlier report by labour bureau shows that the unemployment level has increased during 2012-2013 over 2011-2012.

While unemployment rate among illiterate youth is lowest with 3.7 per cent for the age group 15-29 years at all India level in 2012-2013, the unemployment rate in the same category was reported at 1.2 per cent in 2011-2012 report.

Similarly, the unemployment amongst the graduate youth that happened to be at 19.4 per cent in 2011-2012 increased to 32 per cent during 2012-2013.

As stated in the report, the unemployment rate amongst the educated youths reportedly increased with increase in their education level. (Amongst all age groups viz. 15-24 years, 18-29 years and 15-29 years)

The Labour Bureau survey further shows that every one person out of three persons who is holding a graduation degree and above in the age group 15-29 years is found to be unemployed.

The need of the hour is practical training at all levels of Higher education.

WIND FARM CO-OPERATIVES & OFFSHORE WIND FARMS:
For captive consumption of electricity, wind electricity is probably the cheapest option. If one considers medium term horizon, together with benefits of CERs/ RECs, wind energy would turn out to be the cheapest source of captive electricity from the beginning. Total cost of ownership for wind farm is far lower than that of captive plants based on conventional fuels.
Main strengths of wind energy projects are:
• Enormous wind energy potential across the globe,
• Protection against inflation or escalation in electricity
generation cost over the project life,
• Ease of putting up a wind farm,
• Low operations and maintenance requirements,
• Scalability,
• Short gestation period and others.
As on 31 Jan 2014 the installed capacity of various Renewables are:
Wind 20293.83
MW
Small Hydropower
3774.15 MW
Biomass Power & Gasification 1285.60 MW
Bagasse Cogeneration 2512.88 MW
Waste to Power
99.08 MW
Solar Power 2208.36 MW
OFF-GRID/
CAPTIVE POWER (CAPACITIES IN MWEQ)
Waste to Energy 119.63 MW
Biomass(non-bagasse) Cogeneration 517.34 MW
Biomass Gasifiers
-Rural 17.63 MW
- Industrial 146.40 MW
Aero-Genrators/Hybrid systems 2.18 MW
SPV Systems 159.77
Water mills/micro hydel 10.18 (2547 nos)
Family Biogas Plants (numbers in lakh)(1 Million = 10 Lakhs) 47.10
Solar Water Heating – Coll. Areas(million m2) 7.51
(Source:Ministry of New and Renewable Energy,Government of
India).
Prognosis:
No doubt India occupies 5th Position in Wind Energy in the World after China,US,Germany and Spain. The phenomenal success of Wind Power in Germany and other Europen countries is through Wind Farm Co-operatives.
Community wind energy:
Community wind projects are locally owned by farmers, investors, businesses, schools, utilities, or other public or private entities who utilize wind energy to support and reduce energy costs to the local community. The key feature is that local community members have a significant, direct financial stake in the project beyond land lease payments and tax revenue. Projects may be used for on-site power or to generate wholesale power for sale, usually on a commercial-scale greater than 100 kW.
Cooperative
A wind turbine cooperative, also known as a wind energy cooperative, is a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise that follows the cooperative model, investing in wind turbines or wind farms. The cooperative model was developed in Denmark. The model has also spread to Germany, the Netherlands and
Australia, with isolated examples elsewhere . In India Depreciation Benefits are given to only big Industries investing in Renewables. Why not Government give Income tax benefits to Individual tax payers who invest in a WIND FUND(to be created by the Government) and give tax exemption under Section 80 C to start windfarm co-operatives. This way there will be mass participation in Wind Energy.
NEED FOR OFFSHORE WIND FARMS IN INDIA
Offshore wind power refers to the construction of wind farms in bodies of water to generate electricity from wind. Better wind speeds are available offshore compared to on land, so offshore wind power’s contribution in terms of electricity supplied is higher. However, offshore wind farms are relatively expensive.
Economics and benefits
Offshore
wind power can help to reduce energy imports, reduce air pollution and
greenhouse gases (by displacing fossil-fuel power generation), meet renewable
electricity standards, and create jobs and local business opportunities.
COST COMPARISON OF ONSHORE AND OFFSHORE WIND FARMS
Onshore
Investment
of about $1.5 million per MW
Levelized
cost of 6-7 cents per kWh
O&M
– 1-3% of capital costs
May be built in smaller units
Offshore
Investment
of $2.3 million per MW
Levelized
cost of about 10-11 cents per kWh
Higher
O&M – 40$ per kW and 0.7 cents per kWh variable
Large turbines and farms required
In spite of the higher costs and the uncertainties involved in offshore wind,
research in this sector has been significant, and the main reason is the
potential offered by offshore wind turbines, especially in lands close to water .
At the end of 2011, there were 53 European offshore wind farms in waters off Belgium,
Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the
United Kingdom, with an operating capacity of 3,813 MW,[ while 5,603 MW is
under construction
USA, China, South Korea, Taiwan, France and Japan have ambitious plans to go in for
offshore wind farms on a massive scale.
Length of coastline of India including the coastlines of Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal and Lakshwadweep Islands in the Arabian Sea is 7517 km. Length of
Coastline of Indian mainland is 6100 km.
Thorough Wind studies have to be carried out along the coast to identify the prospective
offshore wind farm sites. Based on these studies a Pilot project can be started
by MNRE which will help as a Demonstration project.
Accurate wind measurements at the site are the constraint. Many a time wind data is extrapolated to the hub height at sites where the wind turbines are to be erected. In the US in California wind farm developers used to monitor (Anemometers, Anemographs) in the past at the sites where wind turbines to be erected (Now Wind Masts). This gives more or less reliable wind data and hence the turbine output.Unfortunately in some cases Wind Farm developers can't wait for years to measure the wind data(In some cases to avail the tax benefits
quickly) and hence correlate the nearest wind mast data. That is why there will be variation in the output. Moreover terrain also plays an important role in wind energy production.
Remote sensing measurement techniques enable measurements to hub height and beyond. There are resource measurement technique using sodar and lidar which need to be adopted in India along with at least 75 meter Wind masts.
Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India
Renewable Energy Expert

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