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Government to install windmills in 500 places for power

In its bid to double the installed wind energy capacity over the next five years and to reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy plans to set up windmills at 500 places across the country.

About 14,158 MW of wind energy is currently produced in 13 states, including Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, as against an estimated potential of 48,561 MW in these states. With a 7,517-km coastline, the total onshore wind potential in India is estimated to be around 65,000 MW.

“We are working to achieve a target of adding 10,000 MW every year, for which we are conducting wind resource assessment at some 500 places in Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh, Goa and the North-east which don’t have windmills. This assessment is being done by installing equipment at a hub-height of 100 metres (where the wind speed is significantly high),” said a senior functionary in the ministry.

Authorities plan to set up the new windmills over the next three years. While 40 per cent of the assessment cost is being borne by the Centre, 30 per cent will be provided by state governments.

The remaining 30 per cent will be spent by the private entity conducting the assessment for setting up windmills. According to officials, the assessment consists of ascertaining the wind speed and direction, topography of a place, temperature, access to the power grid or to a control centre where power generated from turbines could be stored, the social and cultural set-ups of local communities and the presence of wildlife that could be impacted by the windmills.

“Based on the wind atlas prepared by the agency that would give us an idea of the energydensity at these locations, we will go ahead with setting up the windmills, which could be either grid-connected or captive,” the official said.

Asked if energy-intensive regions like Delhi and the NCR were being considered by the ministry for wind power generation, the official said: “We have asked several states to submit their plans. Delhi and Uttar Pradesh have not responded so far. If they send a proposal, it will be considered.”

According to experts within the ministry, power generation by windmills is maximum if turbines are set up at a minimum height of 100 feet above the ground, and the speed of winds ranges from six to 35 metres per second.

Besides, wind energy potential of turbines installed at a hub-height of 50 metres from the ground has been estimated to be 49,000 MW, while it is 1.2 lakh MW and 3 lakh MW at hub-heights of 80 and 100 metres, respectively.

Ministry sources said the government could not tap the vast-potential available in nature in abundance because of the massive cost of wind energy. Every kilowatt of energy produced from a small wind turbine (generating up to 2.2 MW) costs Rs 1 lakh.