The wind energy sector across the globe has drawn serious attention for development to mitigate global warming. All concerned countries are acting seriously to draw more energy from wind and solar to reduce the use of fossil fuel usage. India has also set an ambitious target of generating about 140 GW of wind energy by 2030. This target calls for a rapid expansion in the wind sector. At the same time, it has become a challenge to get specially trained people to serve this rapid expansion.

There is a visible shortage of training infrastructure for the wind sector in India, only a few institutes are available to train the people for the wind energy sector. No standard curriculum or common qualification standard is available for training. How to deal with it?

India is a frontline warrior in the war of ‘Global Warming’. To improve on climate change it is focusing to generate most of its energy requirements from renewable energy sources. The wind is one of the high potential resources in India for renewable energy production. Therefore, India has taken an ambitious target of generating about 140 GW of wind energy by  2030, in line with Prime Minister Modi’s pledge (at the recent COP26 Glasgow Climate Conference) to make the country carbon neutral by 2070. 

Prime Minister also raised the NDC target (Nationally determined contribution) of RE Energy to 500 GW by 2030, from earlier 450 GW. Now 450 GW will be from solar & wind and 70-100 GW from hydro.

As of October 2021, the total installed wind capacity was about 39.9 GW (and solar was about 47.7 GW).India has nine years in hand and has to install 100 GW more wind capacity by 2030 to achieve the target.

So the average asking rate is 10-12 GW of new installation per year. Eventually, the country can expect to see a boom in the wind energy sector very soon. However, in the last four years, the annual average of wind energy addition was about 1.5 GW only and this figure must be a matter of concern to the strategist of the sector.

Moreover, to support this growth of the wind sector, well-trained workforces should be necessary and, at this moment, there is an acute shortage of trained / skilled people across the country. 

Worldwide the growth of the wind sector has created an urgent requirement for skilled workforces for years. GETI survey made in over 156 countries (including India) reveals that there exists an acute shortage.

In house training
image by Dr Debasis Gupta

 Janette Marx, COO of Airswift exclaimed after seeing the result, “Essentially these results show us this is crunch time for the renewables sector.”  According to the survey:

75% of HR managers of this sector will be compelled to hire people from other industries to meet the demand, 

27% of the workforce requirement in renewable (wind, solar etc.) energy sector will recruit from non-renewable industrial sectors and 

 45% of the talent demand will have to be fulfilled by educational institutions and colleges.  

Goldwind Americas had already launched a drive (5 years back) to recruit fossil fuel sector workers and provide them free training,  to make them competent for the wind energy sector. They named this drive ‘Goldwind Works’.Company CEO David Halligan said that they require technicians to support their growth, so have taken this approach.

In an annual review in 2016, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) had also forecasted about this growth phase situation of the wind energy sector in India and the related demand for a trained workforce:

“This sector carries a huge potential to create a lot more job opportunities and can come up as a dependable income source in the global platform including India. India needs to work urgently in the field of training and skill development of the workforce.   

It is apparent that in this growth phase knowledge creation and management is very essential for the wind sector for its sustenance. The sector should take various innovative approaches to meet the people demand.” 

A study done in Europe during 2013 found that about 50,000 more trained workforce will be needed by 2030. They already had a shortage of 7000 qualified people then and predicted that the shortfall will probably increase to 15,000 by 2030, without appropriate actions.   

In India, the wind energy industry is comparatively new and specialized. It is also passing through continuous technological changes to address the economic and growth demand. To support these demands, the need to get an industry-ready new & trained workforce is more and rising. Continuous training for existing employees for knowledge updates is also equally necessary.

I find this issue was captured by the Confederation of India Industries (CII) way back in 2010. In a report it said: “the sector is facing challenges in sourcing skilled manpower in many functional areas like manufacturing, production, installation, operation & maintenance, marketing and research & development.” 

CII understood that the wind energy sector (or the renewable sector as a whole) is new in India and in a mode of fast growth and is continuously facing a shortage of trained and skilled people.  

I came across another article in Indian Climate Dialogue (ICD) magazine that highlights the same scarcity: “…availability of appropriately skilled manpower is the big challenge.”

This article further mentioned that the wind energy sector so far is dependent on In-House & On Job training only and now the requirement of the trained workforce is such high that it has to look for other alternatives. Major-chunk of people will have to come either from other industries or directly from educational institutions. So, the necessity of wind specific training at educational institutes has increased multi fold.   

Again in 2017, IRENA  published a report emphasising that: “India needs to develop a skilled and knowledgeable workforce to realise significant growth in renewable energy. The lack of employees trained in the skills needed to construct and operate decentralised renewable energy systems is a continuing challenge and a barrier to meeting renewable energy targets.”

I have experienced, there is no sufficient infrastructure existing in India to train and make the new folks industry-ready before taking up actual work. It is a challenge. 

CII and MNRE have also done a detailed analysis on HR development strategy and acknowledged that the wind sector needs specific ‘skill and knowledge’ which further needs continuous upgrading. 

ways to creat wind energy skill pool
image by Dr Debasis Gupta

In my opinion,capacity building through training is the call of the time. In 2013 a European agency (TPWind) proposed about the support ways to improve wind energy training courses. India may also follow the same path and quickly take up extensive expansion of wind energy training facilities. 

Further,wind energy training curriculum needs to be an essential part of state-run and private industrial and vocational training institutes all over the country. Particularly in the states, where wind energy potential is high. 

This curriculums have to be of the same standard all over the country and, certification standards have to be designed for the courses.

Institutes that are already running wind courses need to expand their facility. 

At diploma, graduate and postgraduate level wind energy curriculums may be introduced as a separate stream of study in the technical and management institutes.

Wind energy companies and government organizations may tie up with educational institutes and create a national-level platform for developing more certified wind energy personnel within the shortest possible time. 

This way, industry, educational institutes, state and central government agencies may jointly frame up a strategy to address this challenge and support the growth of the wind energy sector.

75% of HR managers of this sector will be compelled to hire people from other industries to meet the demand,