Chennai: Wind turbine manufacturers are planning to set up “real time wind forecasting systems” in three states by April, which they say would help enhance the role of wind energy in India’s power generation.
The systems will be set up in Chinnapudur in Tamil Nadu, Kabadguda in Karnataka and Samana in Gujarat, said T.F. Jayasurya, manager of communication at Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association (IWTMA).
IWTMA is working on the project with Garrad Hassan India Pvt. Ltd, part of a UK-based independent consultancy that deals with wind, marine and solar energy. It has set up a task force comprising four experts in wind assessment to oversee the execution of the pilot project.
IWTMA chairman D.V. Giri said the systems will predict the amount of energy that will be produced by specific “wind farms” with an accuracy of 70% for a 10-day period. This will make wind energy inputs more reliable for state electricity boards, and help reduce the amount of power they have to purchase.
Photo by Bloomberg and Graphics by Paras Jain/Mint
India has nearly 17,000 wind energy generators. The country’s installed capacity of wind energy was 10,833MW as of September, according to IWTMA, just a fraction of its total capacity of around 150,000MW. Around 2,000MW wind energy capacity is expected to be added in 2010-11.
Listen to D.V. Giri, chairman of IWTMA, talk about real time wind forecasting and its potential for power generation in India
The unpredictability of wind is a problem faced by wind farms even in the US. Wind farms made up more than half of all net electricity generating capacity added in the US in 2008, but the thousands of wind turbines installed across the country produced only 1.3% of the total electricity in the US that year, The Wall Street Journal had reported on 5 October.
The operator of the electrical grid in Texas, the largest producer of wind power in the US, has hired a firm to provide an hourly forecast of how the wind will blow at every wind project on the grid, the report said.
Wind power producers are required to instal gauges that feed into those forecasts.
“India is a chronically deficit country as far as energy supply is concerned. This (forecasting systems) would help the system operators plan for other inputs,” said Ramesh Muthya, managing director of Garrad Hassan India.
He illustrated with an example: “If six hours before the event, the TNEB (Tamil Nadu Electricity Board) is informed that from a 600MW installed capacity it is going to get 350MW of power, it might limit its purchase from the central pool. It might ask the hydropower generators not to exercise their maximum limits.”
The forecasting system will generate energy production data for the next 60-72 hours every 15 minutes, and present it in two formats—graphical and tabular, Muthya explained.
The model has self-correcting intelligence mechanisms, which will alter the programmes according to feeds received from wind farms over a period of time, he said.
Muthya added that Garrad Hassan India had worked with two or three firms on an individual basis in the past, but this was the first time that real time forecasting was being implemented on a large scale.
IWTMA’s Giri said a mid-term report of the systems would be ready once the high-wind season of September-October was over, and the full-term report would be compiled in a year or so. He, however, refused to identify the owners or developers of wind farms where the forecasting systems will be set up.
Giri also said the cost of the project was not significant. “We are not looking at grants or anything. It would be done with our internal accruals,” he added.
Industry experts agreed the implementation of real time wind forecasting would be a big push for power trading in India.
“The system of daily forecasting is needed, as increasingly large wind farms are coming up and they seek open access route to sell electricity,” Vinod Kala, managing director of climate change consultancy Emergent Ventures India Pvt. Ltd, said via email. “Open access sale requires companies to schedule power for the consumers—thus, it becomes imperative to forecast.” Kala also said forecasting “will bring in...increased focus on each wind energy generator’s performance versus theoretical prediction of generation, thus highlighting performance gaps”.
India is aiming to rely more on renewable sources in coming years as part of the global push for clean energy. The Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, India’s power regulator, recently introduced renewable energy certificates in a bid to reward clean energy producers.