MNRE Updates Wind Manufacturer’s RLMM List, 15 Players Make The Cut

Highlights :

  • India, the fourth largest market worldwide by wind energy capacity needs to bring back the momentum in the sector.
  • Larger issues like dropping wind speeds need to be understood well while planning for future, larger wind projects.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has released its revised list of Wind Turbine Models and Manufacturers approved for use within India. The fresh Revised list of Models and Manufacturers (RLMM) comprises exclusively onshore wind turbine models, with some interesting takeaways from the list.

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The list comprises 15 approved firms in all, a good mix of international and domestic players. 9 of the firms in the list are either JV’s or subsidiaries of international wind turbine manufacturers, be it Vestas, Siemens Gamesa or GE, even as Suzlon stands out as an integrated manufacturer working independently among domestic players.

Envision Energy is the lone Chinese firm in the group of 15, filled with domestic firms, German, Spanish and Danish presence.

Going by turbine size and capacity, Siemens Gamesa clearly offers the biggest beats out there, with rotor diameters going upto 145 meters with rated generation capacity of 3.6 MW for some of its models. Naturally, hub height required for these models is also as high as 127.5 meters.

Many of the Indian manufacturers in the RLMM list face a mounting challenge in an era of ever growing sizes, with capacities as low as  225 Kw to 700 KW, which would make them useful for very specific locations and situations, as we understand it.

With the fourth largest wind capacity in the world at around 40 GW, there is close to 10 GW of wind energy projects in the pipeline too. While that does indicate that the 60 GW target for 2022 will be missed, overall wind generation has continued to lead Solar till recently, thanks to the higher CUF or efficiency of wind turbines.

While the new thrust on Hybrid wind+ solar projects augurs a better future for the wind sector in India and the firms in the RLMM list, wind has taken a bit of a back seat as solar dominated the mindspace due to lower costs. Some of the larger opportunities in wind energy, in the form of repowering (replacing older, low capacity turbines  in good locations with higher capacity turbines) remain unexplored till now, due a variety of legal and regulatory issues. Readers will be aware that Solar only overtook wind energy in capacity in 2020-21, and that was mainly due to the earlier headstart wind energy enjoyed in India. A longer beneficiary tax regime has also meant that the earliest wind projects which are a fit case for repowering, are mired in issues like fractional ownership (owners having opted for them only for the tax benefits), besides the onus of future investments and pricing of yet to end PPA’s.

One hopes that in the new year, this issue will occupy enough time and effort from the people that matter to infuse new life into the wind sector, where the country does have a strong domestic set up, including the foreign players who manufacturer here.

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