Wind Energy in India

The power from green sources such as wind and solar are aimed to fulfill several goals such as energy security, economic development, climate change mitigation, rural development and employment generation. In 1983-84, the Government of India started the national wind power programme because it faced the oil crisis which underscored the vulnerability issue associated with it. The government started with the demonstration projects to attract private investment in the sector. From the commencement of the wind program, a market-oriented strategy was implemented. It didn’t involve itself in the direct execution and functioning of wind power projects; rather it worked out the strategy to encourage the involvement of private firms.

To keep the wind program on track, in 1982, the government established the Department of Non-conventional Energy Sources (DNES), under the Ministry of Energy. The department was mandated with the responsibility of making policies and programmes for the development of renewable energy in the country. In 1992, DNES became the Ministry of Non-conventional Energy Sources. In 2006, the ministry was renamed as the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE). India is the first country in the world to create an exclusive ministry for the development of the renewable energy sector. The main aim of the ministry is to develop and deploy new and renewable energy to achieve the national goal of energy security.

For assessing the wind potential in the country, the wind resource assessment programme was implemented through the State Nodal Agencies, Field Research Unit of Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM-FRU) and National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE). In 2010, it created first ever Indian Wind Atlas in collaboration with Riso, Denmark. Given the 2% land availability at windy locations, the wind potential was earlier assessed at 50m hub height above the ground level, then at 80m and 100m. Now, NIWE is carrying out studies at 120m hub height above the ground level to develop the new wind potential map. These assessments help the private wind companies to choose the suitable area for their upcoming wind power projects.

With the total wind installed capacity of around 35,815 MW as of 30th April 2019, India is the world’s fourth largest country in terms of total wind installations after China, the USA and Germany. Wind power has become one of the key renewable energy sources for power generation in India, contributing a share of atleast 6-7% to the country’s electricity generation mix at present. Since the Prime Minister of India, Sh. Narendra Modi has declared the renewable energy target of 175 GW by 2022, the wind power programme has gained further prominence in this scheme.