Wind Energy in India - An Overview

Wind energy is an important source of renewable energy in India. Many of the largest operational onshore wind farms are located in the United States, India, and China. This article throws light on the advantages and disadvantages of wind parks.  

Aspiring civil servants need to stay updated with the latest advancements in the field of science and technology and it is an important component of the IAS Exam. 

Wind Energy in India – UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here

Wind Farm/Park – Meaning & Types

A wind farm or wind park, also called a wind power station or wind power plant, is a group of wind turbines in the same location used to produce electricity. Wind farms vary in size from a small number of turbines to several hundred wind turbines covering an extensive area.

Types of Wind Farm/Parks

  1. Onshore – Wind turbines harness the energy of moving air to generate electricity. Onshore wind refers to turbines located on land
  2. Offshore – offshore turbines are located out at sea or in freshwater.

List of 10 Largest Wind Power Plants in India 

Below-table shares the list of the 10 largest wind power plants in India

Wind Power Plant Megawatt (MW) Location
Muppandal wind farm 1500 Tamil Nadu, Kanyakumari
Jaisalmer Wind Park 1064 Rajasthan, Jaisalmer
Brahmanvel wind farm 528 Maharashtra, Dhule
Dhalgaon wind farm 278 Maharashtra, Sangli
Vankusawade Wind Park 259 Maharashtra, Satara District.
Vaspet 144 Maharashtra, Vaspet
Tuljapur 126 Maharashtra, Osmanabad
Beluguppa Wind Park 100.8 Beluguppa, Andhra Pradesh
Mamatkheda Wind Park 100.5 Madhya Pradesh, Mamatkheda
Anantapur Wind Park 100 Andhra Pradesh, Nimbagallu

Muppandal Wind Farm

  1. The project was developed by Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency.
  2. The Muppandal Wind Farm is India’s largest operational onshore wind farm. 

Jaisalmer Wind Park

  1. This project is located in Jaisalmer district, Rajasthan, Western India.
  2. The project was initiated in August 2001. 
  3. This wind park was developed by Suzlon Energy.
  4. The Jaisalmer Wind Park is India’s second-largest operational onshore wind farm. 

Vankusawade Wind Park

  1. It is located at a distance of 40 km from the town of Satara, Satara District in Maharashtra.
  2. Vankusawade Wind Park is a wind farm located on a high mountain plateau at 1,150 m above the Koyna Reservoir.

Wind Power Potential in India

  1. The Union government has set an ambitious target of achieving 175 GigaWatt (GW) of installed capacity from renewable energy sources by 2022, which includes 100 GW of solar and 60 GW of wind power capacity. The total renewable power installed capacity in the country stood at about 70 GW in the financial year 2017-18. 
  2. It is found by the National Institute for Wind Energy (based in Chennai) that western states have larger potential in terms of a stable, steady, and speedy wind flow starting from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka to Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

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Top States in India – Installed Wind Power Capacity

  1. Tamil Nadu – Tamil Nadu tops the list of states with the largest installed wind power generation capacity in the country. Share of wind power in electricity generation was around 28% in 2018. Total wind capacity at the end of 2018 stood at 8,631 MW while its total installed electricity generation capacity stood at 30,447 MW at the end of 2018.
  2. Gujarat – Gujarat houses the second-largest installed wind power generation capacity in the country. Share of wind power in electricity generation was around 19% in 2018.
  3. Maharashtra – Maharashtra houses the third-largest installed wind power generation capacity in the country.
  4. Karnataka – Karnataka houses the fourth-largest installed wind power generation capacity in the country.
  5. Rajasthan – Rajasthan houses the fifth-largest installed wind power generation capacity in the country. Wind contributes around 20% of total electricity generated in the state.

Policies Related to Wind Energy in India

  • Initially, the Government had the National Wind Power Policy but subsequently, both the onshore and offshore wind policies were developed.
    • For offshore wind energy, India has a very vibrant policy that came up in October 2015, known as the National Offshore Wind Energy Policy framework. The objective is to develop offshore wind energy in the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) along the Indian coastline.
  • A Solar-Wind Hybrid policy was issued in May 2018. The main objective of the policy is to provide a framework for the promotion of large grid-connected wind-solar photovoltaic (PV) hybrid systems for optimal and efficient utilization of wind and solar resources, transmission infrastructure, and land. The wind-solar PV hybrid systems will help in reducing the variability in renewable power generation and achieving better grid stability.

Advantages of Wind Park or Wind Farms

  1. Renewable –  meaning that the source of energy is not depleted when it is used. So, as we use wind energy we don’t decrease the amount of wind available; whereas in the case of fossil fuels, it leads to depletion of resources.
  2. Low-cost energy – Although wind turbines have high upfront costs, the energy they produce is cheap. 
  3. Clean energy – Generating energy using wind turbines does not emit any greenhouse gases. 

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Disadvantages of Wind Park or Wind Farms

  1. Onshore wind is an intermittent source of energy, as turbines cannot generate electricity on demand, but only when the wind is blowing, and at sufficient strength.
  2. When wind strength is insufficient for turbines to operate, the fossil-fuel-based power supply is needed as a backup, which can temporarily increase greenhouse gas emissions. 
  3. As per some research, people who live or work in close proximity have experienced symptoms that include decreased quality of life, annoyance, stress, sleep disturbance, headache, anxiety, depression, and cognitive dysfunction. However, many researchers have differing opinions.
  4. Wind turbine syndrome and wind farm syndrome are terms for the alleged adverse human health effects related to the proximity of wind turbines. Wind turbine syndrome has been characterized as pseudoscience.
  5. Wind Parks need to be spread over more land than other power stations and need to be built in wild and rural areas, which can lead to industrialization of the countryside.

Problems in the Wind Energy Sector

  • For the past three years, there has been a lull in the wind power sector. In 2016-17, India added around 5.5 GW; in 2017-18, it came down to 2 GW.
    • Initially, the growth in the wind energy sector picked up because of the incentives in generation, accelerated depreciation and taxation. The Government has gradually taken these incentives away.
    • The lowest bidding price in solar energy is Rs 2.23 per unit whereas in the wind energy, it is about Rs 4.50. Investors find investment in the solar energy sector more lucrative.
  • Policies related to wind energy being still in the transition phase.
  • The Government of India came with the framework with respect to auctioning in December 2017. There is a ceiling of tariff imposed on every auction. Winds being region-specific, achieving the particular tariff rate becomes difficult.
  • General challenges with respect to distribution companies (discom risks), for instance, curtailment in power generation, delayed payments to energy producers, etc.

List of World’s 10 Largest Wind Power Plants 

Below-table shares the list of 10 largest wind power plants in the world. 2 wind power plants located in Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan are in top 10.

Wind Power Plant Megawatt (MW) Location
Gansu 7,965 China
Alta 1,548  United States of America (USA)
Muppandal wind farm 1500 Tamil Nadu, Kanyakumari
Jaisalmer Wind Park 1064 Rajasthan, Jaisalmer
Los Vientos Wind Farm 912 United States of America (USA)
Shepherds Flat 845 United States of America (USA)
Meadow Lake Wind Farm 801 United States of America (USA)
Roscoe 782 United States of America (USA)
Horse Hollow 736 United States of America (USA)
Tehachapi Pass Wind Farm 705 United States of America (USA)

Wind Energy in India – UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here

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