BENGALURU: The Gujarat government is considering a proposal to give land for centrally-sanctioned wind projects on the condition that the winning developers set up projects at the site decided by the state government—a sort of wind park.
Earlier, the state government had been going slow on sanctioning land for wind projects awarded by Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), the nodal agency of the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE), as sites with good wind speeds are limited and the state government wanted to give them to its own developers. Discussions between the state government, the MNRE and developers on resolving the issue have been on for some time now.
“What we will suggest to the developers is that we’ll identify a piece of land in consultation with them, but they should all build their projects there, rather than have projects at 10 or 20 different places,” said a senior official closely involved in the matter. “Overhead wires won’t be everywhere, changing the landscape.” This would enable the state government to save on transmission infrastructure and costs.
For the last several months, the Gujarat government has restricted allotment of land for wind projects mostly to those auctioned by state energy agency Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd (GUVNL). While GUVNL’s projects supply power only to Gujarat, SECI’s projects will be able to distribute power to buyers anywhere in the country as they are connected to the inter-state transmission service (ISTS).
Since the state is home to some of the windiest locations in the country, many of the winners at SECI’s 2018 wind auctions—who had the option to build projects anywhere they wanted to—preferred to construct in this state. Of the 7,000 MW of wind projects auctioned by Seci last year, 3,500 MW are expected to come up in Gujarat.
“The details will be fine-tuned after the Vibrant Gujarat Summit ends,” said the official, adding that the state power ministry will take a call on the matter. The summit starts on Friday.
One developer said that while locating an entire project at a single spot would reduce evacuation cost, it would raise other challenges. Generation would be affected if too many wind turbines are in the same locality. “If wind turbines are too close together, the ones in front will generate more, the ones behind less,” he said on condition of anonymity. He noted that wind parks do not work like solar parks where panels located anywhere within the park produce the same energy.
Another developer, who won a project at a recent SECI auction, said, “Our project is half built, evacuation and transmission facilities are in place, but only for part of the project. We are still waiting for the land for the rest of the project.” The developer said that if he now has to shift location to implement the Gujarat government’s proposal, it would only exacerbate his problem.
The government official cited earlier did not confirm whether the proposal will apply only to future projects, or will cover the partially built ones too. “If the Gujarat government feels it can quickly identify a common location, it can do so,” a SECI official said.
Though wind projects in Gujarat are mostly located in Kutch, they can also be found outside this region in places where wind speeds are high enough to generate energy.