Far higher potential for wind energy in India than previously estimated: study

Mar 21, 2012

A new assessment of wind energy in India by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has found that the potential for on-shore wind energy deployment is far higher than the official estimates— about 20 times and up to 30 times greater than the current government estimate of 102 gigawatts. This landmark finding may have significant impact on India's renewable energy strategy as it attempts to cope with a massive and chronic shortage of electricity.

"The main importance of this study, why it's groundbreaking, is that wind is one of the most cost-effective and mature renewable energy sources commercially available in India, with an installed capacity of 15 GW and rising rapidly," says Berkeley Lab scientist Amol Phadke, the lead author of the report. "The cost of wind power is now comparable to that from imported coal and natural gas-based plants, and wind can play a significant role in cost effectively addressing energy security and environmental concerns."

Even if the previously estimated potential of 102 GW is fully developed, wind would provide only about 8 percent of the projected electricity demand in 2022 and 5 percent in 2032. The new Berkeley Lab study has found the total techno-economic wind potential to range from 2,006 GW for 80-meter hub heights (an indication of how high the wind turbine stands above the ground) to 3,121 GW for 120-meter hub heights. Given these new , the availability of can no longer be considered a constraint for wind to play a major role in India's electricity future.

Phadke and his team have been discussing their findings informally and formally with several key government agencies in India and have gotten positive responses. "The key agency in charge, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), has now signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Berkeley Lab to collaborate on several issues related to potential estimates and wind energy integration," said Jayant Sathaye, who leads the International Energy Studies Group at Berkeley Lab.

Ranjit Bharvirkar, a senior consultant at Itron Inc. and one of the other authors of the study, said part of the motivation for reassessing India's wind potential came from recent reassessments of wind potential in the United States and China. Both found substantial increases over the previous assessments—a ten-fold jump in China and a 50 percent increase in capacity in the United States and 400 percent by energy. Improved wind technology, including higher efficiency and hub heights, accounted for much of the increase along with more advanced mapping techniques.

The previous wind potential estimate in India of 102 GW is based on the assumption that only two percent of the windy land is available for wind power development. However, this assumption is not based on any assessment of land availability. The Berkeley Lab study undertook a systematic assessment of the availability of land using publicly available GIS (geographic information system) data on topography and land use and found a significantly higher availability of land that can potentially be used for wind power development, which is the primary reason for the higher potential estimates.

The study excluded land with low-quality wind, slopes greater than 20 degrees, elevation greater than 1,500 meters and certain other unsuitable areas such as forests, bodies of water and cities. The researchers obtained off-the-shelf wind speed data for heights of 80 meters, 100 meters and 120 meters from 3TIER.

The study also finds that the total footprint required to develop high-quality wind energy (that is, wind turbines at 80 meters with a capacity factor greater than 25 percent, which would yield a potential of about 543 GW in ) is approximately 1,629 square kilometers, or 0.05 percent of the total land area in . The footprint is not large because, typically, only about 3 percent of a wind farm is occupied by the wind turbines and related infrastructure; the rest of the land can be used for other purposes.

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More information: "Reassessing Wind Potential Estimates for India: Economic and Policy Implications" can be downloaded at: ies.lbl.gov/node/473

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antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (4) Mar 21, 2012
about 20 times and up to 30 times greater than the current government estimate of 102 gigawatts

Not surprising. Industry and government are pretty linked in India (it's in the lower half of the Corruptions Perception Index - right around the area of Albania and Argentinia).
The nation is going full tilt nuclear. That these kinds of industries are interested in finding 'low availability of wind' is to be expected.
Eikka
2.6 / 5 (5) Mar 21, 2012
That these kinds of industries are interested in finding 'low availability of wind' is to be expected.


But they aren't even competing against each other, because wind power cannot do baseload on its own. To achieve a steady output, you need something else for up to 80% of the time, that is, unless you want to waste energy and money by dumping the peak production when it cannot be used.

It would be absurd to think that you could build a large wind farm to replace a nuclear reactor, because they simply don't operate the same way.

antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (3) Mar 21, 2012
As soon as you add even a very small amount of energy storage capability the "baseload myth" becomes obvious.

http://www.abc.ne...1889.htm

Such storage doesn't even need to be untested stuff like hydrogen or pressurized air. Biogas and hydro are enough - as has already been demosnstrated with a network of over 20 small decentralized powerplants in a more than one year long testrun

Decentralized power sources are much less susceptible to total failure and the times where you need to provide some sort of backup quickly drops into the 1-2 day range. With a country as big as India there's be absolutely no problem running it off wind entirely given an adequate grid.
NotParker
1 / 5 (6) Mar 21, 2012
It would be nice if India threw away as much money on wind power as the stupid counties like the US and UK.
jet
5 / 5 (1) Mar 22, 2012
I see all these Hydro storage proponents.. odd as the American Eviro-movment wants to pull down dams in the western US. I can barely imagine the hue and cry of trying to turn pristine valley habitat into hydro storage. I think it is often just a canard to be honest.
Eikka
2.3 / 5 (3) Mar 22, 2012
As soon as you add even a very small amount of energy storage capability the "baseload myth" becomes obvious.


That energy storage, or complementary energy source, whichever you want, not excplicitly spelled out in the article, is still many times greater. The article you linked doesn't even admit the large output power swing. The graphs they show would have you believe that the output of wind power is random within bounds, whereas in reality it goes up and down from 0 to 100%.

And that is the problem. You cannot build more of it than the amount you can always sink into the grid, and that amount then produces only a tiny fraction of the energy you need, because of the low capacity factor.

So what the article is really proposing is, that wind power kinda hangs in there for show, and most all of the energy would be produced by solar power and stored in molten salts to regulate it, which isn't a "very small amount of storage" at all.

Eikka
3 / 5 (2) Mar 22, 2012
Decentralized power sources are much less susceptible to total failure and the times where you need to provide some sort of backup quickly drops into the 1-2 day range.


But when enough power is lost, like a severed interconnecting cable, the system turns unstable on the whole grid. Wind power cannot operate in an "island", where it is cut off from the rest of the grid. It will break things.

Just like what happened in Germany in 2006 in the Landesbergen-Wehrendorf grid link, which made a blackout spread through France and Italy when it got overloaded due to force feeding of wind power into the grid.

The operator had disabled another interconnect, and said "Well it had never been a problem before", but before they had had more favorable winds on their side.

Vendicar_Decarian
5 / 5 (3) Mar 25, 2012
"But when enough power is lost, like a severed interconnecting cable, the system turns unstable on the whole grid." - Eikka

Stability will be achieved through battery backups, rapid start gas fired turbines, and grid sector isolation in addition to lower overall demand as personal generation bevomes ever more popular.

In this case, it is rocket science, but companies like GE have all of the solutions already designed and waiting.
NotParker
1 / 5 (3) Mar 25, 2012
Stability will be achieved through battery backups, rapid start gas fired turbines ....


Which means wind power is about 20x more expensive than gas turbines. And produces more CO2 because spinning reserve produces a lot of CO2.

The ultimate green fantasy: Stupid AND more expensive AND more CO2.
kochevnik
5 / 5 (1) Mar 25, 2012
@Eikka But they aren't even competing against each other, because wind power cannot do baseload on its own. To achieve a steady output, you need something else for up to 80% of the time
Knowledge is power: Pumped-storage hydroelectricity http://en.wikiped...ctricity
Which means wind power is about 20x more expensive than gas turbines. And produces more CO2 because spinning reserve produces a lot of CO2.
That's just blatantly stupid. Li batteries carry power station loads between switching. And how much capacity is required for say, five seconds?
kochevnik
not rated yet Mar 25, 2012
I see all these Hydro storage proponents.. odd as the American Eviro-movment wants to pull down dams in the western US. I can barely imagine the hue and cry of trying to turn pristine valley habitat into hydro storage. I think it is often just a canard to be honest.
There are millions of wells in the USA. Any of which can be retrofitted to generate power with a simple pond. A capacity of three Gaza pyramids can supply a town overnight with power. A huge reservoir like Lake Mead isn't called for. You obviously don't know what your writing about.
NotParker
1 / 5 (2) Mar 25, 2012
"The intermittent and unpredictable nature of output from wind farms causes problems. In order to stabilise supply and demand, grid operators must maintain continuous spinning reserve backup ready to go on stream immediately in response to changing weather conditions. This spinning reserve is emitting CO2 even when not producing electricity."

"The 2003 West Danish Grid [ELTRA] System Report | identified Spinning Reserve capacity as between 300MW and 500MW per 1000MW of installed capacity which means that with a Danish load factor of about 20%, "backup" can be of greater capacity than realised generation.1 The power company E.ON said it would take 50 GW of renewable energy for the UK to meet EU targets, but this would require 90% backup from gas and coal plants to ensure supply"
Howhot
5 / 5 (1) Mar 27, 2012
"The intermittent and unpredictable nature of output from wind farms causes problems."

You know, leave that problem to the engineers. Just give them the resources and it could be a problem worked out. There are the large scale industrial liquid batteries that could be located with a wind-farm. You could have "instant-on" gas or coal backup generators (which as a AGWite I could find acceptable with CO2 going to pond scum sequestration systems.)

With global average temperatures floating up 1 to 3C by 2050, Air conditioning will really such up the electrical capacity. That and electric cars.