According to reports, the southern states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu are seeking to increase the contribution of renewable energy to meet their power requirements in the 12th Plan period (2012-17). They plan to set up wind farms on wastelands and form a green energy corridor for increasing transmission of renewable power.
The ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) is working with these states to prepare a map marking out wastelands with high potential to generate wind power.
“The advantage of (mapping) these areas is that instead of telling wind energy providers to look for potential sites, we can just point them to these zones,” said Alok Srivastava, joint secretary in the ministry.
Such zones will provide common facilities to all power generators; environmental clearances and transmission of power will also be taken care of, Srivastava said.
A report released by the Centre for Study of Science, Technology and Policy (CSTEP) on Wednesday said Karnataka had the potential to generate at least 50,000 megawatts (MW) by harnessing the wind in wastelands. Andhra Pradesh wastelands have the potential to generate 88,000MW. Wind power generation from scrub forest lands in Karnataka could be around 31,500MW, the report said.
India is seeking to tap renewable sources of energy to meet a chronic power shortage. With an energy demand-supply gap of 8%, peak shortages at 11-12% and grid access not available to more than 55% of the rural population, maximizing the potential of renewable energy sources is necessary to meet demand, Farooq Abdullah, Union minister for new and renewable energy, was cited as saying in a 28 November Mint report.
India is the third largest wind power market in the world, growing by a record in 2011 with the addition of more than 3 gigawatts (GW) of new installations and $4.6 billion in investments.
MNRE also said it is in discussion with the Planning Commission to set up dedicated green energy corridors for the transmission of renewable power in the southern region.
“The report has been prepared. Now we are writing to the Planning Commission for extra funds to take up some of those things on a priority basis. Corridors have been identified, areas have been identified where we want to strengthen the transmission infrastructure,” Srivastava said.
According to the CSTEP report, a renewable energy management centre is proposed to look at forecasting wind and solar energy generation.
A senior official in the Karnataka energy department said on condition of anonymity that the government had already held talks with the Tamil Nadu government and the Planning Commission to set up the corridors. One such corridor is expected to stretch from Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu to Chitradurga in Karnataka.
Shailesh Sreedharan, operations director of the World Resources Institute India, said the infrastructure to deliver electricity from renewable sources has been deficient in India. ‘
“Today, the infrastructure is not geared towards renewable energy producers,” he said, adding that any government measures to encourage production of renewable energy was welcome.
The regulatory framework needs to be upgraded to meet the requirements of renewable energy producers, Sreedharan said.
“We need to provide the right incentives for private providers,” he said.