[Model Answer QP2022 GS1] Examine the potential of wind energy in India and explain the reasons for their limited spatial spread.

The country currently has the fourth highest wind installed capacity in the world with a total installed capacity of 39.25 GW. 

Potential of Wind Energy in India

1. Wind is an intermittent and site-specific resource of energy and therefore, an extensive Wind Resource Assessment is essential for the selection of potential sites. 
2. The Government, through National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE), has installed over 800 wind-monitoring stations all over the country and issued wind potential maps at 50m, 80m, 100m and 120m above ground level. 
3. The recent assessment indicates a gross wind power potential of 302 GW in the country at 100 meters and 695.50 GW at 120 meters above ground level.

Most of this potential exists in seven windy States which include (In Descending Order): Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

The reasons for their limited spatial spread are: 

1. Intermittent nature: Due to the capricious nature of wind, power generation is highly variable and seasonal. It is difficult to predict generation at a given time of the day.
2. Tariff caps vs risks: Risks to emerging projects increase costs, while states and distribution companies (discoms) expect the lowest-possible tariffs. This persistent disconnect discourages developers from participating in new tenders. Tariff caps have resulted in under-subscribed auctions, reduced allocations and cancellations of awarded contracts.
3. Access to wind sites: Competition prompts independent power producers (IPP) to quote low tariffs with the expectation of accessing cheap and windy land. But increasing demand for good sites raises prices, making projects unviable.
4. Evacuation Facilities: The timely construction of evacuation facilities and adequate availability networks for integration of renewable energy to the grid has been pending for long.
5. Political adhocism: Andhra Pradesh recently pulled off significant incentives — wheeling charges, banking facilities and procurement of government land — from renewable energy generators, including wind and hybrid. Such instances create uncertainties and endanger future growth.
6. Competition with solar: India’s aspiration to become a global solar energy power has affected the wind power sector.
Potential to generate wind energy in other states can easily be tapped with newer technologies capable of generating power at lower wind speed, increasing the capacity utilisation factor (CUF). Every wind site is characteristically different. Hence, the same mechanism can not be applied to all.
Also, Forecasting and scheduling for wind generation is more difficult because of its highly variable nature. Therefore it is important to incorporate better forecasting technologies — statistical tools, online measurements and satellite data.

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