Indian Wind Energy faces economic hurdles in repowering old turbines

  • Industry News
  • Sep 21,23
Repowering turbines with higher-capacity machines is not economically viable due to the lack of incentives when compared to establishing new installations at fresh sites.
Indian Wind Energy faces economic hurdles in repowering old turbines

According to wind energy industry officials, wind turbines with a capacity of approximately four to five gigawatts (GW) have either reached the end of their typical lifespan or are nearing it. However, repowering these turbines with higher-capacity machines is not economically viable due to the lack of incentives when compared to establishing new installations at fresh sites.

The wind energy industry is projected to add 5GW of capacity by the end of this year. Out of the country's total wind energy capacity of 43 GW, roughly four to five GW consist of older, lower-capacity machines (less than one megawatt) situated in prime wind locations, making them suitable for repowering, as mentioned by D.V. Giri, Secretary General of the Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association (IWTMA).

In the present day, wind turbines with capacities of four to five megawatts are available. However, decommissioning an old wind turbine and replacing it with a new, higher-capacity machine is not cost-effective when compared to installing a new high-capacity turbine at a fresh site, according to Parag Sharma, Founder and CEO of O2 Power Private Ltd. The decommissioning of an old windmill can cost anywhere between Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore, while the cost of a new mill is approximately Rs 8.5 crore per megawatt.

Sharma further emphasised that without tax incentives, the economics of decommissioning an old windmill and installing a more powerful replacement do not add up, even though the new machine would generate more units of energy.

Addressing the issue of old machine disposal, Dr Saravanan Manickam, CEO of Nordex India, a manufacturer and exporter of wind turbines, stressed the need for a proper policy for the safe disposal of old winds turbines. He also pointed out that many power generators with older machines may supply power at a higher cost than current rates.

Manickam highlighted the land requirements, noting that smaller windmills require less land, while larger capacity windmills need significantly larger areas for installation and safe operation.

The industry officials disagreed with the idea of the government acquiring wind sites populated with low-capacity machines and reauctioning them, likening it to acquiring land for infrastructure projects.

D V Giri mentioned that the Tamil Nadu government has initiated a study on repowering, and industry stakeholders are awaiting the results. He also emphasised that the wind turbine manufacturing industry in India is approaching maturity and would require schemes like productivity-linked incentives (PLI) to remain competitive in the global market.

After a hiatus of several years, Windergy India 2023, a trade fair and exhibition, will take place at the Chennai Trade Centre from October 4-6, according to Giri. The event is expected to feature more than 180 exhibitors and attract over 6,000 visitors. Additionally, it anticipates hosting approximately 400 conference delegates and featuring 45 speakers.

Source: ETEnergyworld

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