Interview (Tulsi Tanti)

Tulsi Tanti,
Chairman at Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association (IWTMA

“How do you see India's progress in wind energy over the last 10 years?”

The progress achieved in the last 10 years can be classified in the following categories:

a) Technology:

Size of turbines has developed from sub megawatt to megawatt, currently average is around 2.1 MW and will soon grow to 3 MW

Technology of turbine with higher hub-heights and bigger rotor diameter combined to harness wind energy has actually seen higher PLF in low and medium wind regime

Development of Wind-Solar hybrid technology along with storage

We are now exploring Off shore wind energy in the country, which will see taller and bigger turbines being commissioned

b) Significant Progress in ‘Make in India’:

The industry prides itself of 90%+ localization

Supports over 4,000 SME vendors

Creation of jobs and skilling 'sons of the soil' in wind states

Manufacturing facility with various OEMs across the country to bring proximity to markets

c) Capacity Addition:

The growth has been very steady

Installation figures dropped in 2012-13 with withdrawal of Accelerated Depreciation and Generation Based Incentive

Highest Installation was achieved in 2016-17 (5502.78 MW)

Absolute drop in 2017-18 and 2018-19 with sudden shift from Feed in Tariff (FiT) to Competitive Bidding

Wind Resource Assessment (WRA): WRA by NIWE, which is placed at 302 GW at 100 mtrs and parallel number of met mast set by the industry has shown tremendous potential in onshore. The recent wind atlas at 120 mtrs (yet to be released) by NIWE is optimistic for about 600 GW potential

d) Offshore:

Steps taken in identification and measurement both in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu with an Expression of Interest already for 1 GW. Lot needs to be done in financing, logistics, port development and other areas of clearance with the aggressive target of Government of India of 5 GW by 2022

“As one of the stalwarts of the Indian wind energy industry, could you please share insights on what is ailing the Indian wind industry?”

Paradigm shift from FiT (Feed-in-Tariff) to e-Reverse Auction with a tariff cap without any transition period (e.g. China has changed from FiT to competitive bidding with a transition with over 40-50 GW in pipeline.) This makes the projects unviable for a meaningful Internal Rate of Return (IRR) for the investors. This has led to total collapse of the entire eco system

The biggest challenge is about an industry having 10,000 MW manufacturing capacity of with 90%+ localization chasing a yearly market of 1,500 MW, which leads to just 15% utilization

Currently the industry is dependent on a single procurement agency -SECI (Solar Energy Corporation of India). SECI bids have closed down all State procurement which was the main market

The fall in tariff which was thrust upon in a slow market has now become the benchmark across the country and led to no bidding/development by States

Attempt to reopen old PPAs, curtailment of power during high wind season and delays in payment by financially strapped Discoms

Competitive Bidding procurement model has led to total collapse of the small domestic investor (around 1 GW market) whose purchase size is around 5 to 15 MW per annum

A robust supply chain of the county with over 4,000 SME vendors and high job creation is under serious threat

Frequent changes in policy, non-bankable / enviable tariff has sent a negative signal to bankers, financial institutions and private equity funds

“Fitch Solutions Macro Research has said that India will see installation of 54.7 GW by 2022 as against the target of 60 GW. How far do you see this happening?”

Total installed capacity in the country as of 31st March, 2019 was 35.68 GW

Total bids awarded by SECI, NTPC and State bids are 13,252 MW. These projects can get commissioned before March 2022 considering 18 months of project execution time

Government plans to award 10 GW per annum in the next 2 years & they can be completed by March 2022

However, due to lack of synergy between Center & State commissioning of projects has been delayed

Availability of land and transmission grid for power evacuation at State level is a big concern. There is a need for alignment between developers and PGCIL for connectivity

We expect another 14 GW to be commissioned by 2022, taking the total installed capacity of wind to 50 GW by 2022

“IWTMA has recently come out with recommendations for the wind industry? Would you be like to share the details?”

IWTMA has come with a number of recommendations for wind industry and some of the highlights are-

If the Government is serious on capacity addition and employment generation, then FiT should be implemented for next five years with a firm policy to develop 50 GW

A special dispensation under FIT regime for projects below 25 MW as small domestic investors who were the backbone in building the first 20 GW; have no place under State or Central bids

Uniform Wheeling and Banking policy across the country for captive consumption eg. Rewa Power to DMRC

CTU (Central Transmission Utility) waiver under ISTS (Inter-State Transmission System) transaction for OA (Open Access) customs

To enhance ‘Make in India’ Government to consider capital subsidy of 30% on import of plant and machinery

State-of-the-art turbines manufactured in India can find acceptance in different geographies of the world to boost exports. The need of the hour is to increase the export incentive from 3% to 10% to take care of the disadvantage of the freight logistics and inadequate lines of credit

“How do you see the wind industry leveraging new opportunities coming from energy storage and EV?”

Opportunities for wind industry apart from mainstreaming of renewable energy source is to look at Wind-Solar Hybrid, Forecasting and Scheduling of power to make it more stable source and combine it with storage from hydro and peaking power from thermal

Technologies of storage (batteries) are fast growing and costs are expected to come down

Electrical Vehicles (EV) is the new mantra and boosting of all allied services to churn the sector from conventional fuels of petrol and diesel

“While easy process to encourage Open Access has been a long pending request of the renewable energy industry, State Discoms have their own challenges which works against the renewable energy industry, on open access demand. How do you propose this can be ”

State Discoms fear losing a large customer base if they encourage OA (Open Access). It is said that the State Discom makes a loss by allowing OA (e.g. Tamil Nadu - TANGEDCO mentioned that they are making a loss whereas the developers association have given a calculation that TANGEDCO is actually making profit).

Dependency of the entire transmission network held by the utility is a stumbling block for OA. The entire issue has got to be seen in larger canvas with reference to climate change and global warming and for fossil fuels to ramp down and mainstream RE power with hydro as storage and thermal power for taking care of peak loads

Market dynamics would have to be respected with regard to power transaction but keeping a watch on affordable round the clock power to all sections of consumers

“What are some of the new and promising technologies for wind power?”

High end technology to harness wind power in low and medium wind regimes apart from higher hub heights and bigger rotor diameter

Material engineering like composites and other light-weight materials to reduce the weight of the turbine

Plug and play or permutation and combination and different models of turbines under a single platform without any additional load to critical components

Split blades for easy transport logistics and bonding at site

Advancements in electronics e.g. Ultrasonic sensors and other communication advancements

Condition monitoring to predict component failure to help predictive maintenance. This will ensure all time high performance during the life cycle of the turbine

Evaluation of high standards of forecasting and scheduling to make wind energy from unpredictable power to predictable power which will help scheduling of power to help Load Dispatch Centre

Wind-Solar Hybrid with Storage facility

Interview 04/07/2019 by Moulin
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