India’s wind power generation down 40% during peak season

  • Erratic summer monsoon behind worst wind speed decline ever during June-September period, may impact ongoing deals and investments

Utpal Bhaskar
First Published1 Oct 2020
Photo: Mint
Photo: Mint(Mint)

NEW DELHI: Climate change has impacted India’s green economy, with wind energy generation during this year’ peak season being the worst ever due to low wind speeds on account of an erratic summer monsoon, said several project developers.

India’ wind power generation has been down around 40% during the peak wind season that begins in June and ends in September, and has impacted the firms having major wind power portfolios. With the peak season accounting for 3/4th of India’ annual wind power generation, not only this could throw a spanner in the works for one of the world’s largest wind energy programme; but also affect the ongoing deals and investments in the space.

India has an installed wind power capacity of 38 gigawatt (GW) and seeks to produce 60 GW from wind power plants by March 2022.

“Around 74% of total wind power is generated in these four months of June, July, August and September. It has impacted all the major wind power firms in the country. I haven’t seen anything like this in my career,” said the chief executive officer of a New Delhibased clean energy firm that has a significant wind energy portfolio, cited above requesting anonymity.

This decline during June—September was registered across the major wind bearing areas of the western region states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, and Goa; and the southern region states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka and Telangana. Due to climate change, rainfall patterns and warming are changing, along with the changes in the wind regime, leading to variability in wind-speeds.

“The wind season has been poor this year, with generation down between 30-40%. July and August saw the most negative impact. This is as a result of a number of changes in climatic conditions including an element of the climate change impact,” said Tejpreet S. Chopra, chief executive, BLP Group, a renewable energy generation and technology company.

This has come as a double whammy for India’s clean energy space that is facing issues such as power procurement curtailment, and delayed payments and tariff-shopping by distribution companies (discoms). Also, wind energy projects have been facing problems such as non-allocation of land, besides transmission and connectivity related challenges.

Queries emailed to a ministry of new and renewable energy spokesperson remained unanswered.

Given that the financial and technical modelling of such wind projects depend on past weather data, the changing meteorological and weather variations have been negatively impacting India’s green energy generation. This is a challenge as the revenue model of wind projects is solely dependent on the wind speed received.

The impact of climate change is also evident from the fact that India incurs losses of around $9-10 billion, annually, due to extreme weather events as pointed out by the Economic Survey earlier.

India is running what will become the world’s largest clean energy programme, with an aim of having 175 GW of clean energy capacity by 2022. This has placed a need for a projected investment requirement of around $80 billion by 2022 and $300 billion till 2030.

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