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In a bid to infuse a new lease of life in India's wind energy sector, the Narendra Modi government today announced a new policy for repowering of wind power projects. The policy has the potential to turn around a bulk of the 27,000 Megawatt of the existing installed wind generation capacity in the country.
Repowering refers to replacing ageing wind turbines with more powerful and modern units in order to raise electricity generation levels at the refurbished wind sites. The process involves replacing old machines with fewer, larger and taller modern units which are quiter, more reliable and can produce more electricity.
The objective of the Repowering policy is to promote optimum utilization of wind energy resources by creating a facilitative framework, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) said in a statement. India had started harnessing wind power around 1990 and the present installed capacity of over 27,000 Mw is fourth largest in the world after China, USA and Germany.
Most of the wind-turbines installed up to the year 2000 are of capacity below 500 Kilowatt (kW) and are at sites having high wind energy potential. It is estimated that over 3,000 Mw capacity installations are from wind turbines of around 500 kW or below. Repowering is required to optimally utilise the wind energy resources.
"Initially wind turbine generators of capacity 1 MW and below would be eligible for repowering under the policy. Based on the experience, MNRE can extend the repowering policy to other projects also," the ministry said.
As part of the Repowering policy, Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) will provide an additional interest rate rebate of 0.25 per cent over and above the interest rate rebates available to the new wind projects being financed by IREDA. Also, all existing fiscal and financial benefits available to the new wind projects will be available to the repowering project as per applicable conditions.
The repowering projects would be implemented through the respective State Nodal Agency or Organisation involved in the promotion of wind energy in the state. Under the policy, state transmission utility will provide augmentation of transmission system from pooling station onwards.
In cases where power is being procured by state discoms through PPA, the power generated corresponding to average of last three years' generation prior to repowering would continue to be procured on the terms of PPA in-force and remaining additional generation would either be purchased by Discoms at Feed-in-Tariff applicable in the state at the time of commissioning of the repowering project and allowed for third party sale.
States will also facilitate acquiring additional footprint required for higher capacity turbines. A wind farm or turbine undergoing repowering would be exempted from not honouring the PPA for the non-availability of generation during the period of execution of repowering. Similarly, in case of repowering by captive users, they will be allowed to purchase power from grid during the period of execution of repowering on payment of charges as determined by the regulator.
The ministry also clarified that no additional financial liability will be met by MNRE for implementing the Repowering Policy. The repowering projects may avail Accelerated Depreciation benefit or Generation Based Incentive (GBI) as per the conditions applicable to new wind power projects. Also, the policy would be reviewed by the Government as and when required.
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