MNRE starts process for a National Wind Energy Mission

New Delhi, Jan 23: In a major initiative in the new year, the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) held a national consultation on the concept note for setting up a National Wind Energy Mission. This will be the second mission on renewable energy after

the launch of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission in January 2010.

“The main objective of the National Wind Energy Mission is to create a long term stable policy framework that minimizes risks and costs of wind power deployment while sharing such reduced costs and risks appropriately amongst all relevant stakeholders,” the concept note, prepared after preliminary consultation with the various stakeholders, says.

The day-long consultation, organised by the MNRE in association with the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA), Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation and Centre for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP) and inaugurated by MNRE Minister Farooq Abdullah, was attended by more than 150 stakeholders from industry, government, research

organizations and think tanks.

With the Planning Commission having recommended instituting a wind energy mission in the 12th Plan (2012-17), the country is looking at adding 3,000 MW of installed wind energy capacity every year during this period, out of the total renewable energy capacity addition target of 30,000 MW of grid connected power.

According to the concept note, the wind mission’s objective is envisaged to be achieved through the development of a coordinated and stable policy environment at both state and central levels so as to incentivize rapid investments in the sector.

The rationale for a national wind mission, according to the concept paper, derives from the need for “a long–term stable policy framework which covers all aspects including land allocation, tariff fixation, incentives, manufacturing policy, planning for transmission

infrastructure, and managing intermittency (in supply)”.

Through this it targets to achieve 100,000 MW of utility-scale wind power and 1,000 MW of distributed wind power by end of the 13th Plan in 2022.

The envisaged phase-wise capacity addition targets are 20,000 MW of utility-scale on-shore wind power by 2017, and additional 50,000 MW by 2022. The corresponding targets for offshore wind power are 10,000 MW and 11,000 MW respectively.

The country currently has already crossed 20,000 MW of installed wind energy capacity, indicating its potential to go to the next level and become a major source of clean energy.

The potential is mainly available in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu, with the last named alone accounting for nearly 7,100 MW of installed capacity.

In addition to bringing the focus on all-round and aggressive wind power deployment in the country, the government will soon create a National Offshore Wind Agency and mandate it to go out to the sea to tap wind power. A cabinet note for setting up the agency will soon be finalised by the MNRE, the minister said at the consultation meeting.

India’s domestic wind manufacturing capacity exceeds 10,000 MW annually, mostly untapped for deployment within the country. Capacity addition in 2012 and 2013 were reduced to less than half that of 2011, by recent

uncertainties in policy. The accelerated depreciation (AD) scheme and Generation-Based Incentive (GBI) scheme, which provided subsidies for setting up wind-generated power plants, were withdrawn in 2012. While the industry has been calling for its restoration,

however, only the GBI has been restored so far.

Abdullah has indicated that in view of his ongoing talks with Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on the matter, he is expecting a return of the AD incentive scheme in the forthcoming union budget.

(Biswajit Choudhury can be reached at biswajit.c@ians.in)

IANS