The unprecedented fall in wind speeds has baffled many because a good monsoon season, like this year’s, usually brings stronger winds and raises generation of clean energy.
“The generation of wind energy in India this year has drastically gone down. Climate change has affected this sector far more than solar,” Sunil Jain, CEO of Hero Future Energies, told ET.
Meteorologists have also observed the fall in intensity of wind in the monsoon season, although they have not analysed the wind patterns and the possible impact of climate change.
“We have observed a drop in wind speeds compared to past years. We had a strong monsoon season, which usually means strong winds too. Of course, this could also be a side effect of climate change, although we haven’t analysed the situation,” said a senior scientist at the India Meteorological Department.
The June-September monsoon season accounts for nearly 85% of the annual generation of wind energy. Renewable energy firms are concerned about how the wind will blow in the years ahead.
Central Electricity Authority (CEA) data shows that wind power generation dropped as much as 38.58% in July. Industry executives said a deviation of 10% is expected at any time, but they were taken aback by the sudden drop in numbers this year. Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh saw a significant decline in generation, CEA said. These states account for 46% of the country’s total wind energy generation.
For renewable energy companies, slower wind amplified their problems. “We already saw a drop in demand due to lockdown and Covid, followed by the wide-ranging SOPs. Then came this rough patch between July and August where we barely saw half our normal power generation,” said an executive from a leading renewable energy company. “Hopefully, this trend restricts itself to 2020. Projects might become unviable if such numbers continue,” the executive added.
However, energy generation post-monsoon has been much better than expected this year. While October saw a whopping 52% jump from last year’s numbers, November has registered an 8.5% increase. An above-normal December might salvage some of the losses faced by these companies throughout the year.
Jain suggested further expansion of hybrid projects in future bids by the government to minimise damages due to unexpected fall in generation. “My recommendation would be for the states to issue less than 100 MW wind tenders, instead of conducting auctions for largescale wind projects, which may be coupled with larger MWs of solar tenders by the Centre,” he said.