'POWER' full year for wind energy in India: delivers record installations in FY16

FY16 was a historic year for the Indian renewable industry. Wind energy has surpassed all its previous records with ~3300MW installation. The previous highest installation was ~3196MW in 2011.

India's wind energy sector has witnessed unprecedented acceleration last year, propelled by technology and conducive policy environment for renewables, by central and state governments. The growth was way higher than the industry estimates of 30 to 40%. The industry has attracted an investment of over $3.16 billion and the cumulative installations of the sector is about 64% of India's total grid interactive renewable energy capacity. This is equivalent to reducing carbon emissions by over 58.56 million tonnes per annum or planting over 1.76 billion trees.

The 50% growth in installation vis-à-vis the previous year (~2311 MW in FY15) demonstrates the industry's preparedness to achieve 60GW wind by 2022, which is part of the Indian government’s target of 175GW renewables by 2022. With ~27GW cumulative wind installations in India, the sector is almost half done with the target. We now have ~33GW to achieve by 2022 i.e. 5000MW annually and I am confident we will do it. It is a matter of satisfaction that United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in its Emission Gap Report 2014 has recognized India as one of the countries on course to achieving its voluntary goal.

This commitment to renewables is fortunately, not only a local phenomenon, but part of a sea change taking place globally. The global wind power industry grew by 22% and installed 63,013 MW in 2015 with China leading the charge having added an impressive 30,500 MW of new installations. The US market achieved 8.6 GW, and Germany led a stronger than expected performance in Europe with a record 6 GW of new installations, including 2.3 GW offshore.

I want to congratulate the governments of the countries for their impetus on clean energy. This has been the unifying factor in all the global conferences that took place during the year and I am sure that we will continue to see the proliferation of renewable energy becoming the main stay around the world. A decisive leadership is the need of the hour as the world simply cannot be at the mercy of devastating environmental impact and global warming.

The wind industry has had its share of ups and downs, but the sector is now on a high-growth mode. The WTGs across India stand as sentinels of this growth, standing tall in all any circumstances - headwinds, storm, low-winds and turbulence.

I am optimistic and enthusiastic about India’s vision on renewables committed at COP21 through the Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) in response to COP decisions for the period 2021 to 2030, of which a few relevant points are as follows;

  • To adopt a climate friendly and a cleaner path than the one followed hitherto by others at corresponding level of economic development.
  • To reduce the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33 to 35 percent by 2030 from 2005 level.
  • To achieve about 40 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel based energy resources by 2030 with the help of transfer of technology and low cost international finance including from Green Climate Fund (GCF)

I believe technology and innovation will continue to be the catalyst for the wind industry growth. The wind-solar hybrid solutions, digitization of services, innovation in tower and blade technologies such as Suzlon’s 120 meter hybrid tower, Suzlon S111 WTGs are aimed towards making unviable wind sites available, ensuring better yield and increasing the capacity utilization factor (CUF). These disruptive technologies are bringing down the levelised cost of energy (LCOE) and ensuring affordable power for all.

However, the government should consider the few policy recommendations to maintain the momentum that the sector has obtained in FY16:

  • Long-term policy predictability: Accelerated Depreciation (AD) and Generation Based Incentive (GBI) should continue till 2022
  • Banks and financial Institutions should earmark at least 20% finance for Renewable Energy projects and provide finance for longer period of 20-25 years.
  • SMEs should be supported by 5% interest rebate for using renewable energy for captive requirement
  • Improve availability of grid and land infrastructure at state level

Renewables and especially wind in India has the experience, technology, reach and indomitable spirit to contribute towards Nation's energy security and enable the transition from fossil fuel dominated energy architecture.

We need to harness the 300GW wind energy potential in India and seize this opportunity NOW to ensure sustainable, affordable and reliable energy for all.

My team is excited about the interesting times ahead for the wind energy sector in India and committed to power a greener tomorrow, today!