Where the future belongs!

18th November 2013  To: 18th November 2013

Where the future belongs!


Jami Hossain


Worldwide installations of grid connected wind energy have reached 300 GW.  Almost 86% of the capacity addition has taken place in the last ten years, with nearly 260 GW. More than 100 countries now deploy wind turbines and increasingly more and more countries plan grid connected windfarms. From a stage when modern wind turbine was little known and considered a fringe technology to a point where windfarm has become a common sight in the rural and remote landscapes across the world, it has been story of a new and modern technology making inroads in the conventional power system. 


An important aspect of the technology development has been a greater move towards optimization of the technology for different wind regimes.  Nearly all wind turbine suppliers now offer different wind turbines for different wind regimes, i.e., Class s I, Class II and Class III wind turbines. As a result, many areas and regions that were earlier considered not suitable for windfarms have now emerged as possible sites for new wind projects. Many studies indicate that there has been a very significant decrease in the cost of wind generated electricity and now it is considered a technology comparable to thermal plants, i.e., it has achieved grid parity.


Many countries and regions at times generate almost 100% electricity from wind energy and in fact on one of the days this year, Denmark generated more wind power than it consumed.     


Above facts indicate that modern wind turbines has emerged as a fully mature technology, ready for deployment across the globe and forms the backbone of the renewable energy revolution. Over the next 5-10 years, a very significant and perhaps exponential expansion in wind power is expected across the world.


However, there are challenges that remain and would have to be addressed. Some of these are existence of leagal and regulatory frameworks to enable setting up of wind projects for power generation, knowledge of wind resources in a given region, access to grid infrastructure and managing with variability in wind power.  There is work underway to develop transnational grids connecting many countries, including South Asia and Africa, such national and transnational grids, once they become a reality, will offer a way to effectively manage wind power in the grid. 


Financing wind power projects is yet another challenge but going forward as the banks and financial institutions get a better grip on the risks, the challenge will diminish and in any case will not be as insurmountable as the case may be for Ultra Mega thermal power projects.


Combined with wind power we also see developments in harnessing solar power and biomass power.  Many projects are planned in parts of Asia and Africa using solar power and biomass power. 


Looking at these trends, it is obvious that the future belongs to renewable energy rather than polluting and high-risk projects such as coal and nuclear.  In the emergent future, we see wind power forming the backbone of the power system (grid).  



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