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Repowering old wind turbines may help India meet its renewable targets

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India has huge potential in terms of climate-friendly wind power, but ageing machinery is hamstringing production and efforts to reach te country's 2022 wind energy targets.

Repowering old wind turbines may help India meet its renewable targets
With climate change now an undeniable reality, countries have been setting goals and working to reduce carbon emissions. Earlier this year, India, the world’s third-largest emitter, too announced its ambitious goals of expanding its renewable energy (RE) base to 500 GW of renewable energy installed capacity by 2030.
The country aims to reach 40 percent of that target within 2022. Of that, 60 GW of renewable energy is expected to come from wind power in 2022. But the country’s wind energy capacity in August only stood at 39.2 GW and another 9.07 GW capacity (excluding capacity installed by March 2021) was under installation, per the Indian Wind Power Association (IWPA).
With less than a year to go for India to meet its RE target in terms of wind power, it is not through new installations but by repowering that India may reach its goals. In the context of wind energy, repowering refers to retrofitting old wind turbines with modern and efficient units in order to raise electricity generation levels at various wind power sites.
While India has strong wind power resources -- having the potential to harvest nearly 1,000 GW of energy through wind -- setting up newer turbines can be a time-consuming and a capital-heavy adventure. The average annual addition to wind power capacity in India has been 2.48 GW. India currently has a shortfall of 11.73 GW against its 2022 target.
But repowering provides a powerful alternative. Repowering even just the top wind power producing sites across India could potentially add nearly 30 GW of energy on its own, reported Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis. With nearly a quarter of India’s existing wind power being generated from older sub-1MW turbines, replacing the ageing machinery with modern turbines capable of generating 2-3MW can make India’s renewable targets significantly easier to achieve.
"Compared to a new project, repowering would cost less, since existing land and infrastructure are being used,"  KR Nair, an IWPA council member, told IndiaSpend.
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