Steve Sawyer , secretary general, Global Wind Energy Council, was in Delhi recently to release a report on the Indian Wind Energy Outlook
for 2009. He tells Narayani Ganesh that at least one quarter of India’s energy requirements could be met with wind power by 2030:
Is it realistic to say that by 2030, 25 per cent of India’s energy requirements would be met by wind power?
That’s the projection the Indian Wind Energy Outlook 2009 report makes in its presentation of an advanced scenario, on the premise that by then, there would be opportunities to tap the country’s full potential for wind generated electricity. This does not include future potential of similar power generated from offshore wind farms, something that holds great promise considering that India has a 7,000 km coastline.
India has the technology; in fact it is among the leaders and the technology is still evolving. All of the major manufacturers of wind equipment have operations in India. In order to reach full potential it would be necessary to develop offshore technology since along the coast winds are steady and in some places concentration of resources is close to load centres in metros. India ranks fifth in total installed capacity with 9,645 MW of wind power installed at the end of 2008.
Won’t high capital costs hike per unit cost to consumer?
With wind, it’s a one-time capital cost and almost all costs are capital costs whereas with conventional power plants, it is ongoing. Once a wind farm is set up, there are no further capital costs like buying fuel as in other power plants that have to source coal, gas etc whose costs too vary from one time to the next. In due course it is hoped that wind farm capital costs too will get reduced but first, private financiers have to get convinced.
Around five billion tonnes of CO2 emissions would be reduced cumulatively from now to 2030 that is, amounting to 500-plus million tonnes per year. This is not to do with current emissions; only the projected ones. In climate change negotiations it is important to show that there is huge mitigation potential in India and China but the question is, who will pay for that?
What more policy initiatives are required?
Right now solar energy is four times costlier than wind energy. But certainly it is a good investment, since it generates power as well as employment opportunities.Rest of the article