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Wind power is one of the most environment friendly means to generate electricity. The time taken to set up a wind power project is very short compared to the time taken to set up a conventional thermal power plant using coal or nuclear energy. A wind farm can be set up in areas where the wind is fast enough to power a wind turbine. If wind turbines are set up in all available locations, the energy generated will exceed the world's power requirements

The Southwestern monsoon in summer and Northeastern monsoon determine the wind patterns in India. Information about wind sites in India is available in the wind energy data book published by Center for Wind Energy Technology. The current potential in India is 45000 MW. As of March 31, 2006, the installed wind power capacity in India is 5300 MW. India has one of the largest installed capacity of wind turbines in the world.

Before  setting up a wind turbine generator,  the availability of wind - the wind speed and and direction for a ten minute average is checked. Since the winds on the sea coast are of high speed and vary in speed, wind turbine generators are usually not installed in these areas.  Thermally induced winds which are generated when the land is heated by the sun are more suitable for wind power installations. The preferred wind speed for optimum power generation is around 12 m/sec (40-50 km per hour) above which the turbines have to be switched off to avoid damage . The average height of the wind turbine is 200 meters while the blades could span 80 meters.

Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Gujarat have major installations of wind turbine generators in India.   Vestas, Suzlon and Enercon are  the major suppliers of  wind power equipment in India. Due to substantial tax benefits (80% depreciation in the first year) and 10 year tax holiday, many of  the highest tax payers in the country invest their money in wind farms. In most cases, the land is rented from farmers. The power generated is either sold directly to industries or to the state electricity boards. As of January 2007, the largest wind power based IPP project had a capacity of 128.80 MW and was commissioned by Enercon Wind Farms (Hindustan) Pvt.Ltd.

Vestas Wind Systems A/S from Denmark is the largest supplier of  wind turbine generators. In India, they had joint venture , Vestas RRB India Pvt. Ltd,  but their generators are of capacity of only 600kW. In September 2006, they divested their stake in the company. At present, Vestas has a wholly owned subsidary, NEG Micon India Pvt. Ltd, which manufactures turbines of 750 kW or more. Offshore wind farms use high capacity windmills, but low capacity turbine blades are required for maintenance of current windmills.

Suzlon manufactures wind turbine generators (WTG) and also installs turnkey wind farms in India. It manufactures WTG of capacity 0.35 MW, 0.60 MW,1.25 MW, 1.5 MW and 2.1 MW. They are designed to maximise power factor, micro pitching control and power generation which is compatible with grid supplies. WTGs are type certified by Germanischer Lloyd or Centre for Wind Energy Technology, India

The major disadvantage of  wind power farms are the low load factors of  20-30% . They are not reliable since wind patterns keep changing.  Also, the area required is large, a 225MW plant may take up an area of  size 35 km by 5 km. Other allegations (not proven) are that the wind turbine cause droughts and affect bird life. Power generation can be disrupted due to theft of copper cables and aluminum accessories (common to all electrical installations).


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