Wind & Solar Power: Renewable Energy is the Need of the Hour

  • Technical Articles
  • Oct 09,15
Wind & Solar Power: Renewable Energy is the  Need of the Hour

In early July 2015 Denmark’s wind farms produced so much power that the country was able to meet its domestic electricity demand and export power to Norway, Germany and Sweden. While this happened on an unusually windy day, Denmark now produces up to 40 per cent of its power by windmills. Similarly Germany now produces up to 50 per cent of its power by Solar PV panels, on days when the weather conditions are right.

India too is now gaining rapidly in the renewable energy stakes. The country has the fifth largest power generation portfolio worldwide with a power generation capacity of 245 GW. Of this only 31.70 GW is the contribution of renewable sources including wind, solar and biomass. With rapid economic growth, increasing prosperity, growing rate of urbanisation and rising per capita energy consumption, the demand for power is increasing and approximately 350-400 million people do not even have access to electricity. In such a scenario, the need for scaling up renewable energy generation is more than ever before. Prime Minister Narendra Modi led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has put renewable energy at the top of its agenda after taking office in May 2014, and has lost no time in setting up ambitious targets. The earlier target of installing 20,000 MW of solar energy capacity by 2022 has been raised fivefold to 100,000 MW. There is also a renewed focus to increase the installed wind power capacity to 60,000 MW in the same period.

Wind Power

Though a relative latecomer on the scene, with total installed capacity of 23,763 MW, India ranks fifth globally in wind power generation, a little less than a quarter of the total potential of 102,788 MW according to latest estimate of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), the nodal Ministry of the Government of India for all matters relating to new and renewable energy. This is a revised estimate for hub height of 80 m, against 49,130 MW assessed earlier for hub height of 50 m. But the latest announcement of ReNew Power Ventures Pvt Ltd, one of India’s largest clean energy companies, has raised the stakes further, literally. The company has successfully pioneered the commercial installation and commissioning of India’s tallest wind tower the S97 series by Suzlon. The S97 stands at 120 m, offering 33% increase in hub height, when compared with the conventional tower design. Moreover, it is also a revolutionary on-shore installation of lattice/tubular combination towers (hybrid towers) of 120 m height, the hybrid towers manufactured by Suzlon. With this installation, the gain in wind speed is 4-5% relatively higher in comparison to the conventional 90 m hub height. According to industry research, this is expected to increase the annual generation by 12-15%.

This development augurs well as the MNRE has pegged the target for wind power generation at 60,000 MW capacity by the year 2022. Commenting on this development, Mr Tulsi Tanti, Chairman, Suzlon Group, said, “Suzlon’s R&D efforts are focused on developing high yield products that effectively bring down the cost of energy (COE) and improve customers return on investments. Our endeavour to provide sustainable and affordable energy solutions has resulted in the path-breaking S97-120 m (2.1 MW) turbine with hybrid tower, which is designed to harness more energy from low wind sites.”

Inox Wind Limited, another leading wind energy solutions provider, recently bagged an order for a 100 MW wind power project at Lahori, in Madhya Pradesh from Ostro Energy, for supply and installation of 50 units of its advanced 2 MW DFIG 100 rotor dia wind turbine generators (WTGs) for Ostro Energy, on a turnkey basis. According to Kailash Tarachandani, CEO of Inox Wind Limited, the 100 rotor dia WTG has one of the highest swept areas, that makes it ideally suited to maximise returns, especially in low wind areas. The 100 MW project is part of the “Inox Wind Park” of 200 MW capacity at Lahori, one of many such “Wind Parks” being developed by Inox across the country.

In another development, Gamesa Wind Turbines Pvt Ltd, a leading wind turbine technology player in India, has signed an order for 250 MW wind power project with Orange Renewable, promoted by AT Holdings Pte Ltd, Singapore, for supply of 125 units of G97 – 2.0 MW – T104 turbines across three sites. While 100 MW at Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh and 50 MW at Ratlam (Madhya Pradesh) are projects to be completed by March 2016, the 100 MW project in Agar (MP) is to be commissioned by September 2016. These are just a few examples from the scores of companies active in the field.

The Sun is Shining

If the country has done reasonably well in wind, solar too is now gaining traction, aided in no small measure by technological advances in the sector globally – prices for solar modules have declined by almost 80% since 2008. As of 30 June 2015, the installed grid connected solar power capacity of India is 4,060.65 MW, and the government expects to increase this by an additional 10,000 MW by 2017, and a total of 100,000 MW by 2022. This is not a difficult target to achieve given the proactive policies of the government backed by active support on the ground. It has created a liberal environment for foreign investment in renewable energy projects, and established the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency, a dedicated financial institution for renewed impetus on the promotion, development and extension of financial assistance for renewable energy and energy efficiency/conservation projects. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) up to 100% is permitted under the automatic route for renewable energy generation and distribution projects subject to provisions of The Electricity Act, 2003.

SunEdison Inc., the largest global renewable energy development company, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Tamil Nadu state government to develop 2 GW of wind and solar power in the state in the next 5 years. The 2 GW is part of SunEdison’s larger plan to develop 15.2 GW of renewable energy in the country by 2022. In June 2015 the company had announced the inauguration of the Dammakhedi 50 MW DC solar power plant in Madhya Pradesh. The US-based company has signed an agreement earlier this year with Adani Enterprises for a US $4-billion joint venture to build solar panels in Gujarat.

SkyPower Global, a Canadian solar-energy developer with over 25 GW of solar development and activities in over 60 countries, has been awarded 200 MW in the Telangana, India solar competitive tender process. This 200 MW award is in addition to the 150 MW of projects awarded to SkyPower in Madhya Pradesh in July 2015, making a total of 350 MW. Once built, the projects from both states are anticipated to be in excess of 400 MW of solar nameplate capacity. The company plans to launch India Solar Fund, which will provide a platform for investors, partners and stakeholders to invest alongside and participate in this growth.

Waaree Energies Limited has anno- unced the launch of its first plug and play solar park in India. The 150-acre ‘Sunbless Solar Park’ at Murtizapur, near Akola, Maharashtra, has a capacity of up to 30 MW. This park provides land and evacuation facility to the nearest 132/33 kV GSS via double circuit transmission line. It offers facilities such as approach road, fencing, water supply, common infrastructure support and resources. The company had earlier introduced high performance WSM-345 monocrystalline solar modules, which use high efficiency monocrystalline cells. This module delivers an industry-leading 17.8% efficiency with positive power tolerance. WSM-345 modules have lower LID (light induced degradation) and offers higher return on investment with more watts-per-module.

Sterling and Wilson, part of Shapoorji Pallonji Group and one of India’s leading solar EPC with over 350 MW of solar projects on ground, has recently set up a 32 MW solar power plant for Clean Solar Power (Dhar) Pvt Ltd, a SPV floated by Hero Future Energies at Ratlam district in Madhya Pradesh. The scope of the project included design, engineering, supply, fabrication, construction, inspection, installation, testing and commissioning of their complete solar power plant that spreads across 171.60 acres of land.

With the global slump in oil prices, the time is just ripe to push for a larger investment in renewable energy alternatives, to make hay while the sun shines. The increased use of indigenous renewable resources will further reduces the country’s dependence on oil imports, as prices are not going to stay low forever.

ELECRAMA-2016 – Global Promotion

As the industry prepares for the 12th edition of ELECRAMA – one of the largest exhibitions for the electrical industry worldwide, scheduled for February 13-17, 2016 at the Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC), Indian Electrical & Electronics Manufacturers’ Association (IEEMA), the organiser, is busy promoting the event globally. While an IEEMA delegation led by Mr Sunil Misra, Director General along with Mr Ninad Ranade visited Bangkok, Thailand and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia during August 2015, Mr Aaditya Dhoot, Chairman Elecrama 2016, Mr Sanjeev Sardana, Vice President (Elect.), IEEMA and Mr Vikas Jalan, Executive Council & Organising Committee Member, IEEMA visited Kenya and Tanzania for promotion of ELECRAMA-2016. The objective of these visits was to explore possibilities of improving bilateral trade into the space of electrical equipment between India and the respective host country.

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