The Indian wind power segment is more than three decades old, with 40 GW of capacity installations as of January 2022. Despite having mature technology, this segment has been overtaken by the solar power segment, which already has over 48 GW of installations. Even during 2021-22, less than 1 GW of wind power capacity has been deployed across the country, as against more than 9 GW of solar power. Further, just 6 GW of total capacity additions have taken place between 2018-19 and 2021-22 in the wind power space. There are a couple of limitations with wind power deployment in India that have led to this slow growth in capacity.
First, the utilisable wind power potential is distributed across only seven states – Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu – with Kerala and Telangana also having a small potential for development. Of this, three states – Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh – have not seen even 200 MW of wind power installations in total between 2018-19 and 2021-22. Second, the wind power segment was dependent on feed-in tariffs for project allocation for years and the introduction of competitive bidding continues to be debated in the industry even after roughly five years, especially with the issues of land and transmission unavailability hampering growth. Third, while auctions have been conducted at the central level, states barring Maharashtra and Gujarat have not had auctions of their own. Fourth, with generation curtailment, non-payment of dues and low tariffs threatening developer revenues, a lot of focus – and therefore investment – has been diverted to solar power.
However, there have been a few positive developments in the country’s wind power space, which present a positive outlook for the industry. Successful large auctions have been conducted in the past one year in not just the solar-wind hybrid space but also for stand-alone wind projects creating confidence amongst developers and investors. Wind power projects are also being chosen by industries to meet their captive power needs, further creating demand. Therefore, many turbine supply orders have been placed in recent months to power these new projects. In the context of these developments, this article focuses on the four leading wind states in India – Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra – that not only have the highest wind power installations at present, but have also been witnessing significant uptake in recent months…
With 9,857 MW of the total installed capacity, Tamil Nadu is the leader in wind power installations in the country. The state also witnessed the second highest capacity additions in the wind space between 2018-19 and 2021-22 after Gujarat, with 1,660 MW installed. However, capacity deployment has reduced year on year from 772 MW in 2018-19 to just 249 MW in 2021-22. It is expected to pick up once the new wind power projects get commissioned, a few of which are in advanced stages of development. For instance, in October 2021, GE Renewable Energy received an order from JSW Energy to supply 810 MW of onshore wind turbines for their upcoming wind farms in Tamil Nadu.
A key factor to consider is that Tamil Nadu was one of the earliest movers in the wind power space and the majority of its prime wind power sites have already been utilised. Some of these projects have very low capacity and old turbines that limit the potential wind power generation from the particular site, and thus, are ideal prospects for repowering. To this end, Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited drafted repowering guidelines for the state in 2018. The Tamil Nadu Electricity Regulatory Commission issued an order in February 2021 to clarify the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy repowering guidelines.
Gujarat ranks second in terms of total wind power installations with 9,016 MW of installed capacity. However, it may soon overtake Tamil Nadu as the leading state, especially since it witnessed 3,402 MW of new wind installations between 2018-19 and 2021-22, roughly double that of Tamil Nadu. Further, the state has an impressive pipeline of projects and witnessed many large orders for turbine supply be-ing placed over the past one year itself. For instance, in June 2021, Continuum Green Energy selected GE Renewable Energy to supply, install and commission a 148.5 MW wind power project in Gujarat. This wind farm was awarded to Continuum Green Energy by the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) in the Tranche VI auction. In the same month, the Suzlon Group secured a new order from CLP India (now Apraava Energy) for the development of a 252 MW wind power project in Sidhpur, Gujarat. The project is expected to be commissioned in 2022.
In September 2021, Vestas secured a 101 MW order from ReNew Power, which is an extension of ReNew’s existing project in Kutch, where Vestas had previously supplied turbines totalling 250 MW. Further, in November 2021, NTPC Renewable Energy Limited placed an order with Inox Wind for a 150 MW wind power project to be built in Gujarat. The project will be completed on a turnkey basis at the Dayapar site in Gujarat’s Kutch district and is expected to be operational by April 2023. The state will continue to witness significant activity in the wind power deployment space as the majority of developers have opted for Gujarat’s untapped wind sites to set up their massive future project pipelines.
Karnataka’s 5,077 MW of installed capacity is quite small when compared to that of Tamil Nadu and Gujarat. Further, the state saw just 469 MW of new installations in the past four years. However, there have been several developments in the state in terms of not just project announcements but also in the policy space, which are expected to increase the installed wind capacity significantly in the coming months. In October 2021, Karnataka Renewable Energy Development Limited reissued the draft Karnataka Renewable Energy Policy, 2021-26, to develop 10 GW of renewable energy projects including stand-alone wind and wind-solar hybrid projects. Further, the policy allows for 4 acres of land per wind turbine generator.
Many new wind power projects are coming up in the state and turbine orders have also been reported for a few of them. For instance, in April 2021, Facebook signed a deal with CleanMax for buying renewable energy from a 32 MW wind project being developed in Karnataka. In October 2021, Green Infra Wind Energy, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sembcorp Industries and Azure Power received letters of award for their 180 MW and 120 MW wind power projects, respectively, from SECI. Both these projects are a part of SECI’s 1,200 MW ISTS Tranche XI tender and are proposed to be set up in Karnataka. Further, a turbine contract was secured by Vestas to supply 100 MW of turbine capacity to ReNew’s projects in Taralkatti, Karnataka. Siemens Gamesa also signed contracts with ReNew Power to supply its turbines to a 322 MW wind project in Tondehal and a 301 MW wind project near Hombal. Siemens Gamesa was awarded another contract by Ayana Renewable Power Six to deliver turbines for a 302 MW wind farm project in Gadag, Karnataka.
Maharashtra witnessed a total of 229 MW of wind power installations in the past four years to reach 5 GW of installed wind capacity. Despite its small capacity additions compared to the other three states, Maharashtra is poised for rapid growth in the wind power space. In January 2021, as part of its Unconventional Energy Generation Policy, Maharashtra announced its aim to implement 17,360 MW of transmission system-connected renewable power projects by 2025. This includes 2,500 MW of wind energy projects. Now that the state has announced an ambitious wind power target, it is making serious efforts through auctions to achieve this target. For instance, in October 2021, Azure Power and Adani Green Energy Fifteen were declared winners in the Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company’s (MSEDCL) auction to procure 300 MW of wind power. While Azure Power won a capacity of 180 MW at a quoted tariff of Rs 3.43 per kWh, Adani Green Energy won a capacity of 120 MW with a quoted tariff of Rs 3.44 per kWh.
Then in December 2021, MSEDCL floated two separate tenders to procure 342 MW of energy from grid-connected intra-state wind projects and 300 MW from interstate and intra-state wind projects. In the 342 MW wind power procurement, the bidding procedure is open for projects that supply power to MSEDCL under an existing power purchase agreement that has expired or will expire on or before March 31, 2022. Meanwhile, selection of projects for the 300 MW wind power procurement is open to new wind energy projects.
With successful tenders, a slew of project announcements and large orders for turbines, it seems India’s wind power space is slowly being revived in at least a few states. However, project deployment activity needs to be ramped up in other wind-rich states of the country, especially Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh, that have large untapped wind power potential. Further, more states need to conduct their own auctions to improve project visibility for both developers as well as turbine manufacturers. Overall, wind power is a mature technology and needs a gentle nudge from policymakers and tendering agencies to realise its full potential in helping India achieve its renewable energy goals.
By Khushboo Goyal