Harnessing wind

The decision to launch the first national wind energy mission later this year is a recognition of  the role of this important renewable source in the country’s future energy basket.

A lot of attention has till now been paid to tapping solar energy which is abundant in the country and the national mission, which was set up for this, has done good work. The proposed mission will give wind energy the same importance as solar power. Wind power projects are older than solar and other alternative power projects in India, and accounts for the better part of the country’s clean power capacity. At 19.9 giga watts this is much less than the potential, which is conservatively put at 300 GW. Some other countries are far ahead of India in wind power production. One reason for the slow growth of the sector is inconsistent policy support from the government. Some fiscal incentives enjoyed by the sector were withdrawn two years ago, though one of them was restored this year.

The proposed national mission is expected to  give a boost to the sector by giving investment incentives, easing land clearances and regulating tariffs. One advantage of wind energy projects is that they need less land than solar projects and even the land on wind farms can be used for other purposes. The mission will also extend its projects offshore. Offshore wind power production is considered to have more advantages than onshore production. With a large coastline India is well equipped to go in for this mode of production.  Since wind power technology has stabilised and equipment is readily available the sector only needs more incentives to grow further.
The idea is to involve all stakeholders in the sector in the mission which will act as a facilitator and a moderator. There has been a debate in the country on the relative merits of solar and wind power projects.

This is unnecessary because both are suitable for different terrains and in different circumstances. Solar energy production might need more land  but might be cheaper and could be undertaken at micro levels also. But wind power is considered to be more dependable. The present aim is to create a generating capacity of 100 GW of wind power by 2022. A higher target can even be set and achieved if the right mix of policies are adopted and implemented.

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