Wind energy developers must secure power grid connectivity

May 13, 2016 11:20 pm | Updated October 18, 2016 01:00 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

India’s wind potential is pegged at 302 GW, with the sector expected to contribute 60 GW by 2022. File Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam

India’s wind potential is pegged at 302 GW, with the sector expected to contribute 60 GW by 2022. File Photo: B. Jothi Ramalingam

The Renewable Energy Ministry’s draft guidelines for the development of onshore wind power projects lays the onus of securing grid connectivity and transportation on the developers, which experts say could dampen investor interest in the sector.

The draft guidelines lay down the rules for setting up onshore wind projects ranging from land use permissions to metering and real-time monitoring to eventual decommissioning.

India’s wind potential is pegged at 302 GW, according to Niti Aayog, with the sector expected to contribute 60 GW to the target of 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022.

The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy issued the draft norms Friday and has sought comments from stakeholders until May 27. While the rules are comprehensive in their scope, experts argue that they could also be over-prescriptive.

Overly prescriptive

“The draft guidelines are overly prescriptive and lay the onus on developers for issues not in their control, such as grid connectivity or transport infrastructure,” Kameswara Rao, Partner, Government Reforms & Institutional Development, PwC India said. “The states are guardians of providing such infrastructure for development.” “The project developer should ensure that grid connectivity is technically and commercially feasible at the site selected,” according to the draft guidelines.

“The project developer should ensure that components of the wind power project can be transported to the site selected with existing infrastructure and in case any addition is required the same would be created without any legal issues.”

In some cases, the minutiae of the rules also render them redundant or too binding in the face of climatic factors that could affect the flow of wind.

“The government risks over-specifying in such rules, even if the thought behind it is well intended,” Mr. Rao said. “The floor of 20 per cent CUF is needless: no developer will risk capital, nor banks will finance projects, that suffer low CUF. Further, a developer may initiate a project with acceptable CUF but would have no control if the wind regime alters from climate change events.”

The project developer should judiciously select the size of the wind turbine for a particular site. considering the wind recourse available at that site.

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