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Growth rate of wind energy in State down

Special Correspondent

Karnataka tapping only 1,100 MW of wind energy against its potential of nearly 13,000 MW

Many wind power projects, which have been cleared, have not been implemented

Escoms not keen on signing new power purchase agreements with wind energy firms

— Photo: K. Gopinathan

Discussing green energy: (From left) K. Kasthurirangaian; Deepak Gupta; Shrenic Baldota, Vice Chairman, IWPA; and K.P. Sukumaran, Adviser, MNRE; at the 12th general meeting of the Indian Wind Power Association in Bangalore on Friday.

BANGALORE: This is sure to shock the proponents of green energy. The rate of growth of installed capacity of wind energy in Karnataka has decreased during 2007-08 though the policy makers in the State are talking of making Karnataka the number-one State in tapping renewable energy.

This observation regarding the fluctuating growth rate was made by none other than the Indian Wind Power Association before top officials of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy here on Friday.

However, the main hope for the State is that there is still a huge scope to increase the rate of growth of windmills by taking corrective steps as it has huge potential for tapping wind energy.

Indian Wind Power Association vice-chairman K. Kasthurirangaian told The Hindu that the annual addition of new wind energy to the Karnataka power grid had reduced. He noted that Karnataka had managed to add 265 MW of wind power during 2006-07. However, the addition in the capacity came down to 166 MW in 2007-08 as against the normal trend of registering a further increase.

He expressed concern that many wind power projects, for which the necessary clearances had been given, have not seen the light of the day.

According to him, this fluctuation in the growth of installed capacity of wind energy was due to the combined effect of several factors. He alleged that electricity supplying companies in the State were not keen to sign new power purchase agreements with the wind energy firms as there was no obligation on their part to do so. Pointing out that the State power regulator had fixed a certain quantum of minimum renewable energy to be procured by the Escoms, he said that Escoms were just adhering to this minimum ceiling. He further alleged that payments from Escoms, except BESCOM, were usually delayed by three to four months.

Mr. Kasthurirangaian alleged that acquisition of land for setting up wind energy firms was a difficult exercise as there were legal hurdles regarding purchase of agricultural land. The wind energy firms were required to get the land use pattern changed for the entire land though the machineries occupy only a portion of land, he said.

Mr. Kasthurirangaian was of the view that despite the fluctuation, it was possible for Karnataka, which is in the third position in terms of tapping of wind energy, to come to the first position if steps were taken to create a conducive environment for the growth of wind energy tapping.

Karnataka had the potential to tap nearly 13,000 MW of wind energy, but is actually tapping only around 1,100 MW while Tamil Nadu has the potential to harness only about 8,500 MW. But the State has overshot the potential by putting up wind mills with a capacity of 10,000 MW, he said.

The IWPA held its annual general meeting in Bangalore on Friday to provide a boost to the Karnataka wind energy sector. Addressing the meeting, MMRE Secretary Deepak Gupta said he would convene a meeting of officials concerned from the States, which have wind mills, along with representatives from wind mills as well as Union Ministry of Power, Union Ministry of Forest and Central Electricity Authority in Delhi on September 15 to discuss various problems gripping the sector.

He assured them of considering a proposal for providing an incentive-based on quantum of power generated by the windmills.

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