Wind Competing with Coal in India

July 26, 2012

Business Week:

The cost of wind power has dropped below the price of coal-fired energy in parts of India for the first time as improved turbine technology and rising fossil-fuel prices boost its competitiveness, Greenko Group Plc (GKO) said. “Today we’re able to supply energy below the cost of conventional power,” said Mahesh Kolli, president of Greenko, which is building wind projects with General Electric Co. (GE) (GE) in India. “That’s the key development for this year.”

The cost of wind has closed in on coal thanks to more advanced turbines, which can produce more electricity from lower wind speeds. The shift means new wind farms in India will be able to survive without state subsidies, potentially attracting investors to a country where 57 percent of installed capacity is coal-based and 31 percent renewable, including hydropower. Greenko began operating its first wind project in Ratnagiri in Maharashtra state this year using 1.6-megawatt GE turbines designed for low winds. That farm is “achieving efficiencies never before seen in India,” with a 30 percent plant load factor, Kolli said today by telephone. That’s a measure of a site’s actual generation compared with its theoretical capacity.

New Energy Finance show the most efficient wind projects in India run at a similar cost to new coal-fed plants. The best projects have a levelized cost of energy, which allows for comparison between different fuel sources, of 2.7 rupees (5 cents) to 4.4 rupees a kilowatt-hour, compared with coal’s 1.9 to 4.8 rupees, Ashish Sethia, an analyst at London-based BNEF, said in a July 3 note.

The economics of Indian wind developments may lure investors away from markets such as the U.S., where the end of a tax break for wind-power utilities could cause a 75 percent slump in new installations next year, according to BTM Consult, a unit of Navigant Consulting Inc. (NCI) (NCI) Kolli said India’s decision to suspend a wind subsidy in April won’t affect investments.

Berkeley Lab:

A new assessment of wind energy in India by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has found that the potential for on-shore wind energy deployment is far higher than the official estimates— about 20 times and up to 30 times greater than the current government estimate of 102 gigawatts.

This landmark finding may have significant impact on India’s renewable energy strategy as it attempts to cope with a massive and chronic shortage of electricity. “The main importance of this study, why it’s groundbreaking, is that wind is one of the most cost-effective and mature renewable energy sources commercially available in India, with an installed capacity of 15 GW and rising rapidly,” says Berkeley Lab scientist Amol Phadke, the lead author of the report. “The cost of wind power is now comparable to that from imported coal and natural gas-based plants, and wind can play a significant role in cost effectively addressing energy security and environmental concerns.”

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2 Responses to “Wind Competing with Coal in India”


  1. […] Business Week: The cost of wind power has dropped below the price of coal-fired energy in parts of India for the first time as improved turbine technology and rising fossil-fuel prices boost its co…  […]

  2. skeptictmac57 Says:

    But…but…this can’t be true,cause the whole thing is a scam…right?

    Peter have you seen this?

    http://blog.ewea.org/2012/07/wind-power-will-grow-by-100-terawatt-hours-per-year-iea/


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