Onshore wind power project norms revised in boost to Modi’s clean energy goal

The Centre revises guidelines for onshore wind power projects to meet ambitious target of generating 60GW of wind power by 2022

India globally ranks fourth in terms of wind power installed capacity. Photo: Harikrishna Katragadda/Mint
India globally ranks fourth in terms of wind power installed capacity. Photo: Harikrishna Katragadda/Mint

New Delhi: With its eyes set on doubling India’s present installed wind power by 2022, the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) has revised guidelines for onshore wind power projects.

At present (till end-September), India has 28.1 giga watt (GW) of wind power installed capacity across the country and the Central government has set an ambitious target of generating 60GW by 2022.

To achieve that target, MNRE believes that the current rate of deployment of wind power capacity is required to be more than doubled. The guidelines were revised to address new-age problems and reduce delays.

India first came out with guidelines for development of onshore wind power projects in 1995 to ensure proper growth of the wind power sector. The guidelines were then revised in 1996. Since then, this is the first major revision.

The guidelines aim to facilitate development of wind power projects in an “efficient, cost effective and environmentally benign manner”. They address all major issues like land use permission, availability of wind resource, grid connectivity, transport logistics, environmental acceptability, micrositing, health and safety, hybridization, repowering and decommission plan.

“The project developer should ensure that the land being selected for the wind power project can be legally used for the purpose and all regulations regarding land use/land cover are complied with,” said the guidelines which were issued on 22 October.

They clarified that in case of land allotment by the state government for the wind power project, a maximum period of four years may be allowed for development and start of commissioning of the project. But if there is a delay, then the land allotment may be cancelled.

To address the issue of grid connectivity, the guidelines said that the “project developer should ensure that grid connectivity is technically and commercially feasible at the site selected”.

“If the site being selected falls in the area of forest land or in the vicinity of habitat of migratory birds and their flight routes, civil aviation, defence and heritage establishments the project developer should ensure availability of necessary clearances from concerning authorities,” they added.

It added that “to ensure health and safety of people working/residing near the wind power installations the NIWE (National Institute of Wind Energy) will prescribe criteria for noise and shadow flicker in consultation with stakeholders.”

The guidelines also stated that a proposal to establish wind power project should necessarily include a decommissioning plan of the wind turbine after completion of its useful life.

“The NIWE will formulate guidelines for decommissioning of the wind turbines in consultation with stakeholders,” it added.

As per the MNRE, the need for such guidelines were felt because of “advancement in the wind turbine technology, requirement to comply various standards and regulations issued by CEA (Central Electricity Authority) and other regulatory bodies, to address issues related to micrositing, decommissioning, health and safety”.

For instance, over the past 20 years, the wind turbine technology in India has evolved from less efficient turbines with low capacity of 225 KW to more efficient turbines with high capacity of 3 mega watt being manufactured in India.

India’s total installed renewable capacity currently is around 44.2GW and significance of wind power in India can be assumed from the fact it amounts to over 60% of the total installed renewable power.

India is globally ranked fourth in terms of wind power installed capacity.

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