India Sees Wind as Partial Answer
to Its Perennial Energy Shortages
May 14, 2007 -- Voice of America
New Delhi - The Asian Development Bank
is helping to finance a 100-megawatt wind energy plant
in India as part of a drive to promote renewable energy
sources in Asia. As Anjana Pasricha reports from New
Delhi, India has emerged as the world's fifth-largest
producer of wind energy.
India's first windmills were built about
two decades ago, when a handful of small industries
invested in wind turbines to escape the country's
perennial power outages.
Today, windmills dot the landscape in
several southern and western states, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan,
Gujarat and Maharashtra, producing a total of 6000
megawatts of power.
Now, with the economy soaring and the
country hungry for energy, large private sector groups
have begun making major investments in wind power.
The government is offering tax breaks and other incentives
to encourage them.
The latest initiative comes from India's
largest private power company, Tata Power.
The company is building wind power facilities
to produce 100 megawatts of power in Maharashtra state,
with the help of an $80 million loan from the Asian
Ajay Sagar, head of the private sector
and financial services group at the ADB in New Delhi,
says wind power may account for only a tiny part of
India's overall energy mix. But he says it is crucial
for a rapidly industrializing country to explore clean
"Renewable energy initiative is very
important although the size could be small. But the
advantages to the environment are huge," said Sagar.
"For this Tata power project itself, it will contribute
to a reduction of greenhouse gas emission by approximately
2.6 million tons of carbon dioxide during its projected
life of 20 years."
So far, wind energy accounts for a meager
one percent of the total power produced in the country.
But India is now the world's fifth largest wind energy
producer - behind Germany, Spain, the United States
India is also the third-largest consumer
of electricity in Asia, behind China and Japan. More
than two-thirds of the country's power is produced
by thermal plants, and most of those are highly polluting
Over the next five years, wind energy
generation is expected to more than double, with industries
adding about 8000 megawatts to existing capacity.
That is still far short of India's potential
wind-power generation, which has been estimated at
The government has identified more than
200 windy sites suitable for wind farms. Most of them
are in southern and western India.