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Reports Touts India’s Wind Power Potential

A new assessment by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has found that India’s potential for onshore wind energy deployment is significantly higher than the official estimates—as much as 30 times greater than current government estimates of 102 gigawatts. The findings could have considerable impact on India’s renewable energy strategy as it tries coping with a wide spread, chronic power shortages.

The report’s lead author, Berkeley Lab scientist Amol Phadke, explains, “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. 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.”

More than 95 percent of the wind potential is concentrated in five Indian states located in the southern and western regions of the country. If the previously estimated potential of 102 GW is fully developed, wind would provide only about eight percent of the projected electricity demand in 2022; and just five percent in 2032.

Jayant Sathaye, Berkeley Lab’s head of International Energy Studies Group, notes, “The key agency in charge, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), has now signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Berkeley Lab to collaborate on several issues related to potential estimates and wind energy integration.”

Itron senior consultant Ranjit Bharvirkar, and co-author of the study, reports that the motivation for reassessing India’s wind potential was recent reassessments in the United States and China, which found substantial increases over the previous assessments: a ten-fold jump in China and a 50 percent increase in the United States.

The study also finds that the total footprint required to develop high-quality wind energy is approximately 1,629 square kilometers, or 0.05 percent of the total land area in India.

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