Amidst the urgency to amplify efforts for clean energy transition, India should harness state and national support to tap on the underutilised wind energy potential, the report says
A recent report found India can add another 23.7 GW of capacity within the next five years provided necessary enabling policies, facilitative instruments, and the right institutional interventions are put in place. The “Renewing wind growth to power the energy transition: India Wind Energy Market Outlook 2026” by The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and MEC Intelligence (MEC+) highlighted the wind energy’s critical link to India’s green energy transition.
According to the report, wind power constituted the majority of the renewable energy mix in India, with 37.7% of cumulative installed capacity, as of March 2022. However, the overall estimated potential dwarfs the current installed capacity.
There is over 600 GW of onshore capacity at 120m hub height, with another 174 GW of fixed-bottom and floating offshore wind potential. These statistics demonstrate that there is a huge untapped wind energy potential that will be crucial for advancing the country’s clean energy transition.
A recent report by a parliamentary panel also highlighted huge gaps in India’s wind energy potential and the actual installed capacity in the country, along with recommendations to remedy the situation.
Ben Backwell, CEO of GWEC said: “To seize this enormous opportunity, India must focus on three areas: Dialogue between the central government and the states to foster consensus building; delivery to help match timelines and targets, and the potential for India to be a destination for the global wind manufacturers and suppliers.”
The report found that the market in India has been affected by the pandemic, with the second wave of COVID-19 in the country, coupled with global supply chain challenges, causing disruption. However, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) took several measures at this time. For example, the ministry granted a blanket timeline extension, which pushed the 0.7 GW of delayed projects to 2022.
Need to focus on different models
Between 2021 and until the release of the report, the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) awarded 2.65 GW of wind/solar hybrid (WSH) tenders and 3.5 GW of standalone wind projects. Unlike the previous years, both standalone and hybrid projects were oversubscribed, this reinstates the ever-growing prominent role of wind energy for decarbonization and resilience building in the grid system.
Emphasising the urgency to amplify efforts for clean energy transition, Sumant Sinha, chairperson GWEC India and Founder, chairman and CEO, ReNew Power Private Limited said, “If India is to achieve its climate goals set at COP26, it must harness the full potential of its enormous wind capacity, including offshore, at an accelerated pace. We can get there, but it has to be an all-hands on deck, literally non-stop, collaborative and flexible effort from policymakers to clean energy firms to investors to innovators to communities to academia to multilateral lenders—from today, for the next few decades.”
Recommendations for the way forward
Experts said that considerable momentum has been built in the pipeline since 2017-2018, but inordinate delays in project execution have challenged the assumptions of developers. Despite these obstacles, wind’s role as a supplement to solar energy strengthened in 2021. Wind solar hybrid project PPAs have grown within corporate procurement and DISCOMs contracts, targeted toward meeting peak power needs. The export of bigger turbines and the entry of new suppliers into the local supply market have both reinforced India’s position as a global hub for wind equipment supplies. Looking at the trends, experts said, there is hope of the revitalization of demand for wind power towards 2026 in the country.
There is a huge untapped opportunity in the Indian market. The report provided insight into how the country can unlock the full potential of wind resources with five broad recommendations:
● Strengthen consensus and coordination between central and state governments.
● Promote technology exchange and alignment to the global wind supply chain
● Exploit repowering opportunities that offer an efficient pathway for India to maximise productivity and socioeconomic benefits from sites already designated for onshore wind power production
● Address the legacy challenges which have disrupted the development of wind energy
● Finalise and implement offshore wind development roadmaps
Recent policy interventions by central and state governments offer hope for the market, but it is clear that action is needed to revitalise the market and deliver on the ambitious goals this report believes India can achieve.