Indian state of Maharashtra emerging as wind energy hub

BANGALORE, INDIA - Maharashtra is quickly emerging as a hub for windfarms and wind turbine power projects and is recognized as a leading area for focused efforts in developing renewable energy resources. The credit for this goes to the Maharashtra Energy Development Agency (MEDA), established under the auspices of the Indian government's Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

MEDA was formed in the early 1980s with the objective of developing alternate renewable energy and working toward energy conservation in Maharashtra. The state, which forms part of India's western coast, has a wind energy potential of 4,584 megawatts (MW).

The growing interest of domestic and international energy companies in Maharashtra has led MEDA to consider adding 600 MW of wind energy capacity every year from the fiscal year 2008-09 until 2011-12. The state expects to achieve a total installed capacity of 4,100 MW by the end of 2012. The total installed capacity of Maharashtra in 2007 was 1,488 MW.

Encouraged by MEDA and recognizing the potential to generate wind energy in the state, several private players have come forward to set up power plants. In the fiscal year 2008-09 RS India Wind Energy Limited has commissioned a 100-MW wind energy project in the Sangli district of Maharashtra. This project will be part of the larger integrated wind energy unit to be developed in this district.

RS India Wind Energy Limited is part of the RS India group, which has interests in infrastructure development, real estate and exports. Skypower Pekon, a joint venture between Indian electronics company Pekon and Canadian renewable energy developer Skypower Corporation plans to develop a 100-MW windfarm in the Sangli district. This joint venture also intends to develop other projects with a total capacity of 1000 MW across the country.

With other projects in the pipeline, MEDA is certain of achieving 600 MW of new installed capacity this fiscal year.

In 2007-08, Maharashtra saw the addition of 268 MW to its wind energy generation capacity. Some of the major projects include the 40-MW BP wind energy plant in the Dhule district. The project, completed by Suzlon Energy Limited, involved the installation of 32 turbines of 1.25 MW each.

Jaypee Associates Limited, another Indian infrastructure company, has also commissioned a 24-MW project in the Sangli district. Reliance Wind Energy has placed an order with Suzlon for $94 million to set up a 150-MW wind-energy plant in Maharashtra.

Most wind-power projects in Maharashtra are situated in the districts of Sangli, Dhule and Satara. Suzlon will soon put Dhule on the world map with the development of a 1,000-MW wind park, one of the largest wind-power projects in the world.

MEDA and the state of Maharashtra have been working consistently to increase the installation and usage of wind energy. The state plans to add 2,668 MW during the Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-12). If this target is achieved, the total wind energy generation capacity of Maharashtra will double in comparison to the Tenth Five-Year Plan figures.

The July 2008 figure of 1,794 MW of installed capacity in the state indicates that current Plan's target will most definitely be met. MEDA hopes to develop wind-based power projects in other districts of Maharashtra and augment the usage of alternate renewable energy resources.


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