India is a vast country with a huge population. As the country is growing, the demand of power is also increasing at a steady rate. Renewable/wind energy is an eco-friendly solution for meeting this demand. Whole world is now aware of the bad effects of using fossil fuel for electrical power generation and looking towards renewable energy as a solution. India isn’t an exception, it started to explore wind energy -as a part of renewable energy source- long back and since then, with many ups and downs is moving forward.
In India around late fifties and early sixties some windmill was imported from Europe and some were developed indigenously.During December 1952,CSIR (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research)and renowned Power Engineer Mr.Maneklal Sankalchand Thaker (who eventually became the Director General of CSIR in 1954) had initiated a project to gauge the potential of wind energy in India.
Later, CSIR and IMD(Indian Metrological Department) jointly formed a Wind Power Sub-Committee under Dr.P.Nilakantan (Ex Director of National Aeronautical Lab.) as Convener, in order to assess the practical possibility of harnessing wind power and its economic viability. That Sub-Committee had reviewed the data regarding surface wind, velocity, duration and also initiated surveys on potential sites for installation of wind turbines. Going back to the basics, this team had also engineered windmills out of woods and bamboos and tested them successfully.
After about two years, in 1954 September; CSIR and UNESCO jointly organised a symposium in New Delhi on wind and solar energy. In this symposium E.W.Golding an authority of wind energy generation from England (a Power Engineer by profession) was also present. Visualising the promising potential of Indian Wind Energy ,he recommended an extensive and full time professional study at various parts of the country. In order to do that, he proposed to establish dedicated laboratories and wind turbine generator development facilities in this country.
Indian Government accepted the proposal and the implementation responsibility was given to CSIR in 1957, resulting in to establishing of twenty survey stations across India to map the wind velocity and pattern. In addition, developing and testing of very small (6kw -8kw) wind turbine indiginously was also the part of job of these stations. Encouraged with the continuous progress of CSIR, during 1960,National Aeronautical Laboratory (NAL) established a new Wind Power Division in Bangalore.NAL and other agencies carried out the survey and mapping of wind energy potential till 1980.
In 1961, at Porbandar (Gujarat),trial of a small (6kw-8kw) wind Turbine was also conducted. This was made by a German Company ‘Allgaier’ and was presented to India by West German Government.
After a gap of some years, in 1985 first large wind project in India began in Veraval (Gujarat) with 40kw ‘Polenko’ (Dutch) made turbines and for the first time connected to the grid successfully. This project was initiated by Dr.K.S.Rao then Director of GEDA and was a joint venture with a private business house named J.K.Synthetics Ltd. Though the project failed to perform well in terms of generation but, it established the technical viability of connecting wind turbines directly to the grid and this was a big achievement. Meanwhile, the demonstration programme of wind power got a massive boost by the Indian Government and several projects were taken up across coastal belt of India.
In1986, couple of such projects were taken up in Ratnagiri (Maharashtra),Okha (Gujarat)and Tuticorin (Tamilnadu) with ‘Vestas’-55kw wind turbines (Spanish) under the direct support of MNRE (Ministry of New and Renewable Energy). All these projects laid out the foundation of wind energy in India and proved that it is a viable source of energy that can be successful in terms of technology as well as business economics and from that point actually the journey began.
I wish to write about the growth of wind energy in our country(India) in a separate blog. Now to satisfy the curiosity of the readers, I am including below some details and the name of top five wind energy firms in India as on date.
Up to December 2019 total installed capacity was 37.669GW (GWEC,2020) and the country was ranked as the fourth largest wind energy capacity in the world after Chaina, U.S.A. and Germany. All these growth had happened till 2017 and after that, a sharp decline had happened in this sector. Last highest ever capacity addition was done in 2016-2017 and that was 5.5.GW(Gigawatt). Before that, in 2015-2016 capacity addition was 3.4GW.Though India has an ambitious target to achieve 60GW wind power mark by 2022, it seems to be not possible in the present scenario.
India has an enormous potential, estimated as 302GW at 100m Hub height. Manufacturers like Suzlon and InoxWind have already introduced turbines with140m & 120m hub height respectively to tap the maximum potential. With all this efforts 10% of total installed energy capacity of the country is now being shared by wind energy. Top five wind energy firms, those are contributing maximum in this 10% slice are:
1. Muppandal Wind Farm (Capacity:1,500MW):
This farm is situated on the coast of Arabian Sea owned by Tamil Nadu Development Agency. It is probably the oldest and largest wind farm in India. I have seen turbines of very old models (like 2 blade turbine)and small turbines (like 200KW) here. All most all make of turbines (like Vestas,Suzlon,Enercon,NEG Micon and some old imported makers) are present in this farm ranging from 200KW to 1650KW. Suzlon 2.1MW turbine is installed at Sankeneri near to this farm.
2. Jaisalmer Wind Park (Capacity:1,064 MW):
It was developed by Suzlon Energy in the desert of Rajasthan. This park comprises of number of sites including SodaMada,Baramsar,Amarsagar,Tenjuva,Badabaug and some other sites. During 2001,I had visited this site during its initial start period and last visited 2003 when it was in growth phase. All models of Suzlon (except 1MW model)ranging from 350KW model to 2.1 MW model are present in this wind park.
3.Brahmanvel Wind Farm (Capacity: 528 MW):
It had been developed by Parakh Agro Industries in Dhule district of Maharashtra. Suzlon had a large population of wind turbines in this farm consisting of 1250KW and 1500KW models. During 2002, looking to the potential-when I was working there- Suzlon Energy was thinking of making its regional Operation & Maintenance hub in this site. Sun-N-Sand Hotels, MSPL,B P Energy and Shivashree Techno are the other project owners of turbines in this wind farm.
4.Dhalgaon Wind Farm (Capacity:278MW):
It is another wind farm in Sangli district of Maharashtra. In 2005 this farm was commissioned comprising of Suzlon and Enercon turbines.
5.Vankuswade Wind Park (Capacity:259 MW):
This wind park was commissioned in 1999, as I can recall.Started with Suzlon 350KW turbines on a 21km long mountain plateau 1,150 meter above Koyana dam reservoir, 40 km away from Satara town. I recall,I spent many days in this cold, wet ,cloudy and windy site during the period from 1999 to 2003 to establish Suzlon’s first operation and maintenance team. Enercon wind park was also present in the near vicinity.
At national level,Maharashtra has the second largest wind energy installed capacity in the country after Tamil Nadu. In the front of renewable (mainly wind) power, Tamil Nadu is on the top of grid connected power (10562.39 MW) ,followed by Maharashtra (7647.60 MW) and then Karnataka (7457.97 MW).
Disclaimer: I have tried to get all the facts and data correct to the best of my knowledge.Any mistake any where is completely unintended.