BENGALURU: Wind auctions should specify which wind zone the projects being bid for are to be located in, or should have different base prices for different zones. If not, wind developers in high wind velocity zones get an unfair advantage, the Indian Wind Power Association (IWPA) has said in a recent letter to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
The two wind auctions held by Solar Corporation of India (SECI) so far in February and October this year, as well as the one conducted by Tamil Nadu in August, did not include any conditions relating to wind zones.
The IWPA has pointed out that there are five different wind zones in the country, as classified by the National Institute of Wind Energy. Wind speeds, and accordingly wind power densities, vary between 220 wind energy per metre square in Zone 1 to above 440 in Zone 5. Accordingly, the capacity utilisation factors (CUFs) of the wind projects set up too vary from 22% in Zone 1 to 35% in Zone 5, which in turn affects the tariffs at which wind developers in the different zones are able to supply power. Wind projects set up in zones with higher wind power densities can supply cheaper power, putting those in lower wind power areas at a disadvantage in auctions unless the wind zone is specified, the letter notes.
Only eight states in India have wind speeds sufficient to provide wind energy – Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Even within these states there are different wind speed zones. Before wind auctions began, when wind energy tariffs were still decided by the states’ respective power regulators, some of them, like Maharashtra, would set different tariffs for different zones.
Although three wind auctions have already been held, the final guidelines for conducting them – as required under Section 63 of the Electricity Act, 2003 – have yet to be issued by the MNRE. The IWPA has urged that the guidelines should have clear directions about wind zones. “Wind zones are varied from place to place… the said variations must be considered and all wind power developers should have equal opportunity and a level playing ground to bid for projects they intend to develop in different states,” it says. “Wind power developers who are in low wind zones cannot compete with those in high wind zones. The parameters for finalising bids in auctions cannot be lower price alone.”
“The SECI auctions conducted without the final guidelines notified are creating uncertainty and have become a deterrent for wind power generation,” it adds.