Article

How winds of change could be an alternative to coal

The new India has urgent energy needs to sustain its economic boom, and great potential for wind energy. Today it accounts for less than 5 per cent of total generation. To meet its electricity generation target of 400,000MW by 2030 it will rely not on renewable energy but on large-scale coal-fired power plants, which are the cheapest to operate. Today Today 62 per cent of India's electricity is powered by coal. Wind energy makes little sense for private investors without the big tax breaks offered by the Government. According to Ameen Ahmed, a wildlife campaigner in Karnataka, they are "not worth the environmental damage" that they cause. The turbines "have devastated large tracts of forest and many villagers complain about the noise pollution". There have also been reports of the whirring driving bears from their natural habitat.

In the valley around the south Indian village of Gudihalli, farmers have cultivated sunflowers, coconut trees and the medicinal plant salpani for generations.

Now, on the surrounding hills, windmills 56 metres (184ft) high loom over the traditional industries of Chitradurga, a region in the state of Karnataka best known for its ancient fort.

The 800-kilowatt turbines, 48 metres in diameter, are surprisingly quiet. In this region, 246 turbines have been installed. On these hills there are 28; two were financed by Climate Care in exchange for the carbon-free electricity they will produce until 2018.

The British company provided an 85,000 grant towards the capital costs of the turbines built by two local companies, Mahalaxmi Construction and RDS Construction. Electricity has been sold to the grid for nearly two years. In the monitoring station, engineers from the company Enercon study the progress. By mid-August the RDS turbine and the Mahalaxmi turbines had each generated about 2.7 million kilowatts. Mitcon, an Indian consultancy monitoring the project for Climate Care, calculates that the two turbines had collectively saved 4,010.18 tonnes of carbon - equivalent to the annual emissions... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

In the valley around the south Indian village of Gudihalli, farmers have cultivated sunflowers, coconut trees and the medicinal plant salpani for generations.

Now, on the surrounding hills, windmills 56 metres (184ft) high loom over the traditional industries of Chitradurga, a region in the state of Karnataka best known for its ancient fort.

The 800-kilowatt turbines, 48 metres in diameter, are surprisingly quiet. In this region, 246 turbines have been installed. On these hills there are 28; two were financed by Climate Care in exchange for the carbon-free electricity they will produce until 2018.

The British company provided an £85,000 grant towards the capital costs of the turbines built by two local companies, Mahalaxmi Construction and RDS Construction. Electricity has been sold to the grid for nearly two years. In the monitoring station, engineers from the company Enercon study the progress. By mid-August the RDS turbine and the Mahalaxmi turbines had each generated about 2.7 million kilowatts. Mitcon, an Indian consultancy monitoring the project for Climate Care, calculates that the two turbines had collectively saved 4,010.18 tonnes of carbon - equivalent to the annual emissions of 666 British households.

In June the Indian Government released a database establishing carbon values for each unit of energy generated, on all regional grids, allowing the carbon displaced by renewable energy sources - the certified emission reduction - to be more accurately calculated than was previously possible.

The new India has urgent energy needs to sustain its economic boom, and great potential for wind energy. Today it accounts for less than 5 per cent of total generation. The gross potential for wind energy is 45,000 mega-watts; just 4,000MW is now generated. Campaigners say that India will become of one of the top three carbon dioxide emitters. To meet its electricity generation target of 400,000MW by 2030 it will rely not on renewable energy but on large-scale coal-fired power plants, which are the cheapest to operate. Today 62 per cent of India's electricity is powered by coal.

Wind energy makes little sense for private investors without the big tax breaks offered by the Government. The cost and earnings of the turbines mean they break even in year 12.

According to Ameen Ahmed, a wildlife campaigner in Karnataka, they are "not worth the environmental damage" that they cause. The turbines "have devastated large tracts of forest and many villagers complain about the noise pollution". There have also been reports of the whirring driving bears from their natural habitat.

India is a leader in the technology of renewable energy, and the fourth biggest generator of wind energy. It is harnessing the opportunity provided by trading carbon credits with Western nations to help them meet their emission targets under the Kyoto Protocol.

 


Source: http://www.timesonline.co.u...

AUG 28 2007
http://www.windaction.org/posts/10833-how-winds-of-change-could-be-an-alternative-to-coal
back to top