In a developing nation like India, the energy debate sits between development, for over billion people, and the real cost of energy in terms of environmental impact and depletion of fossil fuel resources. The only viable solution is to find new sources of energy – and specifically power – that can be harnessed to drive sustainable growth. In other words, renewable energy.
This has been a major focus for the Government of India. The country has, under the Prime Minister’s National Action Plan on Climate Change (PMNAPCC), set a target of gradually increasing the share of renewable energy in the country’s power generation to 15 per cent by 2020. Currently, renewable energy contributes approximately four per cent of the total power generation (kWh) in India. In terms of the installed generation capacity (MW), as of 31st March 2011, renewables contribute more than 18,842 MW – which is over 10 per cent of the capacity of the country’s power sector. Among all the renewables sources harnessed, wind energy is the most matured and preferred and accounts for more than 14,158 MW of installed capacity – nearly 70 per cent of total renewables input in India.
The core objective and driver behind the NAPCC has been to reduce the India's carbon footprint. Even though India’s per capita CO2 emissions at 1.5 MT per year is far lower than those of many developed and developing countries, the gross CO2 emissions of nearly 1.73 billion MT (2007), is the fourth largest in the world and accounts for four to five per cent of gross global emissions. The major contributor (nearly 38 per cent) in these emissions is the use of fossil fuel for electric power generation. Currently, more than 70 per cent of India’s power generation capacity uses fossil fuel, a rise of nearly 200 per cent since 1994. However, it would be unfair – and unjust – to curb growing consumption of power given the economic growth of the country; hence, the best way to mitigate the higher CO2 emissions without compromising on power generation, is to increase the share of renewables in the power mix.
To achieve the NAPCC targets, the investments and new capacity addition in the renewables sector has to rapidly ramp-up over the next ten years. This is not without challenges. However, a study by the Forum of Regulators (FoR) projects that the target is achievable with the help of encouraging policy initiatives and incentive schemes to promote private sector investment, particularly in wind sector. The key amongst these initiatives are existing ones like Accelerated Depreciation, Preferential Feed-in Tariffs and new ones like Generation Based Incentive (GBI) and Renewable Energy Certificates (REC). The study concluded that wind energy will continue to play a dominant role in the renewables sector and add more than 2,000 MW of new capacity, year-on-year, untill 2015.
The growth of wind energy in India has three major drivers: environment, energy and economics. Considering the strong commitment and support of the Government, along with the proven capabilities and performance of the wind power industry in India, the private investments in the sector are rapidly increasing. Further, the diverse options and scalable nature of the projects, investors of all sizes and types – small, medium, large, domestic, global, state-owned and private – stand to gain from wind energy investments. Smart business models offering complete end-to-end solutions make it simple and hassle-free to venture in to wind energy.
The wind energy sector in India, in past five years, has added on an average 1,600 MW of new capacity each year. This translates into investment mobilization of nearly `9,000 crores each year, mostly by the private sector. Other than as a viable investment option, many businesses have ventured into wind power as means to deliver energy security and reduce power costs. Wind energy also forms part of sustainability initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint.
Nowhere is the Case for Wind as compelling as in India. We are a nation of a billion souls developing at a pace undreamt of just a few years ago. Our appetite for resources and energy is seemingly inexhaustible. But so is the wind. With a potential for over 65,000 MW onshore, and just a fraction of that utilized – we already rank as the fifth leading market wind market in the world.
We have a tremendous opportunity to leap ahead, harness this abundant and renewable resource and power real, sustainable development. India’s future is bright. Now let us make it green.
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