When you think of India and renewable energy, you would be forgiven for assuming that solar energy is the most popular option in the country. If that’s the case, then you might be surprised to hear that wind energy in India is actually more common.
India has a fast-growing wind energy industry. As a whole, the country has more than doubled its capacity since 2010. According to these statistics from the Internation Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), India has increased its wind energy capacity from 13,184 MW in 2010 to 32,848 MW in 2017.
Where It All Started
India’s wind energy industry really kicked off during 2001 when the country reached a wind energy capacity of around 1000 MW. As a result of this, India instantly became the third largest user of wind energy globally.
Throughout the rest of that decade, the country steadily increased capacity, reaching the milestone of 13,184 MW in 2010. By 2014, India had surpassed the 20,000 MW mark. The country has since been able to increase wind energy capacity by nearly 50%, reaching the 32,848 MW milestone in 2017.
The following table shows India’s advancement in wind power capacity over the years.
Where India Stands In Global Wind Energy Capacity
India remains one of the top producers of wind power today. Based on the same data from IRENA, the country had the fourth largest wind energy capacity in 2017. Only China, the USA, and Germany were able to beat this with capacity totaling 164,061, 87,543, and 55,876 MW respectively.
India even beats the UK in wind energy capacity which many people assume has a large number of wind power installations. The UK managed to reach a wind energy capacity of just 19,837 MW in 2017. Whilst this is still significant when you take into account the much smaller size of the country, the UK still lags a long way behind India.
Spain is India’s closest wind energy rival, but still only managed to reach an installed wind power capacity of 22,988 MW in 2017. Compare this to India’s capacity of 32,848 MW and you realize just how much of a gap there is.
Where India Stands In Global Wind Energy Jobs
India’s use of wind energy has formed a booming industry employing lots of people all over the country. A 2018 annual review of renewable energy jobs by IRENA estimates that in the year 2017, India had more than 50,000 wind energy jobs.
Globally, India is the fourth largest employer in the wind energy sector. It is surpassed only by China, Germany, and the United States – all of which have much larger industries.
Location of India’s Wind Power Potential
India is a huge country covering around 3.287 million km². What might surprise you is that only specific parts of the country are considered to have good potential for wind power projects. Wind energy has the highest potential in the far north, south, and west of the country. There is little to no potential in central and eastern areas.
The following table summarises the total potential of wind power in these areas. The data is taken from India’s National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) which has a good article on this topic here. For simplicity, we have rounded the figures to the nearest whole number.
|Total Potential (MW)
|Andhaman & Nicobar
Most of India’s wind power capacity is installed at onshore wind farms. The country has little to no presence in the offshore wind energy sector.
The Future of Wind Power In India
For India, wind power and other renewable energy technologies play a key role in supporting future generations. Increasing wind power production will help to provide the country with a source of cheap and renewable electricity. It will also help to reduce the country’s reliance on traditional energy sources – such as coal. This, in turn, will help to improve the quality of the nation’s air and reduce land pollution at the same time.
It is said that between 2020 and 2050, fossil fuel demands will push prices higher than ever seen before. During this period, India will be well placed as a producer of its own renewable energy. This will help to offset the increasing costs of fossil fuel consumption.
Other Renewable Energy Sources In India
India is not just focusing on wind energy for its future power requirements. The country has invested heavily in other technologies such as solar and geothermal. The use of solar energy in India has experienced a similar boost as wind energy and experts predict this to increase further over the coming years.
Whether you are for or against the presence of wind turbines, they are sure to continue as a key player in the makeup of India’s renewable energy industry.