Thursday, October 15, 2009

Assessing India's wind energy potential

At some point world leaders will have to acknowledge that a massive coordinated deployment of wind energy technology both onshore and offshore is key to mitigating the global climate crisis. China and India are both looking for energy sources to power their much-needed economic development. Both have significant wind resources that will help them to develop sustainably.

Meanwhile the U.S. has the potential to wean itself from fossil fuels if it complements its vast wind energy resources with investments in electric vehicles and a more robust and smarter grid. (GW)

India can generate 48,000 Mw through wind energy

By TE Narasimhan
Business Standard
October 15, 2009

India has a potential of generating over 48,000 Mw through wind energy farms, and for that it would require just 1 per cent of its land, according to an estimate by the Centre for Wind Energy Technology (C-WET).

The centre, in its initial study at the coastal district of Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, has showed it is possible to generate power through offshore wind farms. So far, these farms had been developed onshore. To examine the feasibility of offshore wind farms, the centre conducted the first phase of its study at Dhanushkodi in Rameswaram.

For the next level, it is awaiting approval from various government agencies.

C-WET is an autonomous research and development institution under the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).

“Our initial finding showed that it could be possible to generate power by setting up offshore wind farms,” C-WET executive director S Gomathinayagam said on the sidelines of the CII-organised Power 2009 summit.

Of the total 15,000 Mw of renewable energy, 10,528 Mw is wind energy, he told Business Standard. Tamil Nadu continues to maintain the number one position in the country in wind power generation, with 42 per cent of the total installed capacity in the country.

The data measurement include wind speeds, wind direction, sea temperature, sea current characteristics and wave data for environmental research, design and development of offshore wind farm and potential impacts of these measured parameters on wind farms.

“So far, Rameswaram has shown good potential, where wind power density of about 350-500 Watts per sq metres has been recorded. This was measured with velocity along with the height and measuring through sound deduction technology,” he said.

“We are now going for the next level by setting up a 100-metre mast, which would require clearance from 10 government departments,” said Gomathinayagam. MNRE has funded Rs 1 crore for this project.

Apart from the offshore, the centre has installed 620 stations across the country to measure data and 261 places have been identified as potential locations, which can go beyond 200 Watts.

Offshore wind development zones are generally considered to be 10 km or more from land. Offshore wind turbines are less obtrusive than turbines on land, as their size and noise is mitigated by distance. Because water has less surface roughness than land (especially deeper water), the average wind speed is usually considerably higher over open water. Capacity factors (utilisation rates) are considerably higher than for onshore and nearshore locations.

As of 2008, according to reports, Europe leads the world in development of offshore wind power, due to strong wind resources and shallow water in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, and limitations on suitable locations on land due to dense populations and existing developments. Denmark installed the first offshore wind farms, and for years was the world leader in this, until the United Kingdom gained the lead in October 2008, with 590 M2 of nameplate capacity installed. The UK plans to build much more extensive offshore wind farms by 2020.


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