Renewable energy

The government has put the wind back in India's turbines

India’s wind power sector has welcomed the government’s policy to trade old turbines for new ones, but there are still some bottlenecks.

The last few months have been eventful for the wind power industry in the country. After a decision on reverse bidding, the Indian government announced a policy for repowering of wind energy projects.

Explaining the need to do so, the draft policy for repowering of wind power projects states: “Most of the wind turbines installed up to the year 2000 are of capacity below 500 KW and are at sites having high wind energy potential. It is estimated that over 3,000 MW capacity installations are from wind turbines of 500 kW or below. In order to optimally utilise the wind energy resources, repowering is required.”

The aim of this policy, it adds, “is to promote optimum utilisation of wind energy resources by creating a facilitative framework for repowering.”

Repowering is the replacement of ageing turbines with powerful, new units.

Though the policy sounds hopeful of effectively harnessing wind power, industry majors have varied opinions. Some are upbeat, while the others believe this will take time to materialise.

Right direction

According to Tulsi Tanti, chairman and managing director, Suzlon Group, the nod on the repowering policy by the government is a step in the right direction. “We are confident that early investors in wind energy will come forward to leverage this opportunity and contribute towards India’s energy security," he told thethirdpole.net. "Over 3,000 MW of ageing turbines are located in high wind sites and can be repowered with upgraded technology to maximise the potential of the site for higher energy yield. Repowering enables utilising the same land parcel to generate double the energy by deploying next generation wind turbines which give higher plant load factor."

Tanti said that there is immense opportunity for repowering, specifically in the states of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu since they were amongst the early adopters of wind energy in the 1990s and the wind turbines are nearing the end of their lifecycle. “We are glad that the MNRE (Ministry of New and Renewable Energy) has directed the state nodal agencies to extend their support especially for infrastructure augmentation of pooling stations wherever required and land acquisition.”

However, he feels that creating a facilitative framework for repowering is only the first step. “With the initial implementation experience, we are confident other challenges will be addressed in the subsequent revisions of the policy,” he said.

Welcoming the move, DV Giri, Secretary General of Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association, told thethirdpole.net, “Accelerated Depreciation and Generation Based Incentive are also made available to the repowering projects as per the conditions applicable to the new wind power projects. With the new policy, wind turbine generators of capacity 1 MW and below would be eligible for repowering under the policy. Based on the experimental measure, MNRE will extend the repowering policy to other projects also.”

However, he feels the greatest challenge is evacuation when large turbines will replace small and old ones.

On the other hand, Sunil Jain, CEO of Hero Future Energies, differs. “I don’t think it will have an immediate impact because there are many other challenges in that," he said. "Again, in this case, the states have to be involved. This, in my view will take at least two to three years."

Subsidy issue

In terms of eligibility, the draft details that wind turbine generators of capacity 1 MW and below would be eligible for repowering under the policy. For repowering projects, Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency will provide an additional interest rate rebate of 0.25% over and above the interest rate rebates available to the new wind projects being financed by it.

Benefits available to the new wind projects (Accelerated Depreciation and Generation Based Incentive) as per applicable conditions would also be available to the repowering projects.

However, the industry does not appear too excited by these norms. K Kasturirangian, chairman of Indian Wind Power Association, welcomes the decision on repowering, but feels that the current subsidy is insufficient. “It is good that the policy has been announced, because till now, there has been no incentive from the government’s side as far as repowering is concerned," he told thethirdpole.net. "But, the subsidy of half a per cent interest from Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency is not sufficient."

Kasturirangian said states should come forward and relax existing norms for the laying of wind energy generation. He said: "In Tamil Nadu, for example, the TN Power Grid should relax the 5D/7D norms for repowering and implement them. While the government agrees there is an issue here, the solution lies in implementation."

Concurring with this view, Giri added: “While the policy addresses almost all the issues, the incentive is not attractive enough. The present owner of the old turbine would require an incentive over and above the normal Generation Based Incentive for accepting the offer of repowering.”

Tanti though feels the rebate of 0.25% from Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency in addition to the interest rate rebates available to the new wind projects being financed by the agency is a further boost for investors to consider repowering of their ageing low capacity wind turbines.

The new policy says wind farms will not be obliged to generate electricity while the new turbines are being installed. In the case of wind farms used for captive power generation, the user will have to right to buy electricity from the grid during this period.

This article first appeared on The Third Pole.

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Swara Bhasker: Sharp objects has to be on the radar of every woman who is tired of being “nice”

The actress weighs in on what she loves about the show.

This article has been written by award-winning actor Swara Bhasker.

All women growing up in India, South Asia, or anywhere in the world frankly; will remember in some form or the other that gentle girlhood admonishing, “Nice girls don’t do that.” I kept recalling that gently reasoned reproach as I watched Sharp Objects (you can catch it on Hotstar Premium). Adapted from the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects has been directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who has my heart since he gave us Big Little Lies. It stars the multiple-Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who delivers a searing performance as Camille Preaker; and Patricia Clarkson, who is magnetic as the dominating and dark Adora Crellin. As an actress myself, it felt great to watch a show driven by its female performers.

The series is woven around a troubled, alcohol-dependent, self-harming, female journalist Camille (single and in her thirties incidentally) who returns to the small town of her birth and childhood, Wind Gap, Missouri, to report on two similarly gruesome murders of teenage girls. While the series is a murder mystery, it equally delves into the psychology, not just of the principal characters, but also of the town, and thus a culture as a whole.

There is a lot that impresses in Sharp Objects — the manner in which the storytelling gently unwraps a plot that is dark, disturbing and shocking, the stellar and crafty control that Jean-Marc Vallée exercises on his narrative, the cinematography that is fluid and still manages to suggest that something sinister lurks within Wind Gap, the editing which keeps this narrative languid yet sharp and consistently evokes a haunting sensation.

Sharp Objects is also liberating (apart from its positive performance on Bechdel parameters) as content — for female actors and for audiences in giving us female centric and female driven shows that do not bear the burden of providing either role-models or even uplifting messages. 

Instead, it presents a world where women are dangerous and dysfunctional but very real — a world where women are neither pure victims, nor pure aggressors. A world where they occupy the grey areas, complex and contradictory as agents in a power play, in which they control some reigns too.

But to me personally, and perhaps to many young women viewers across the world, what makes Sharp Objects particularly impactful, perhaps almost poignant, is the manner in which it unravels the whole idea, the culture, the entire psychology of that childhood admonishment “Nice girls don’t do that.” Sharp Objects explores the sinister and dark possibilities of what the corollary of that thinking could be.

“Nice girls don’t do that.”

“Who does?”

“Bad girls.”

“So I’m a bad girl.”

“You shouldn’t be a bad girl.”

“Why not?”

“Bad girls get in trouble.”

“What trouble? What happens to bad girls?”

“Bad things.”

“What bad things?”

“Very bad things.”

“How bad?”

“Terrible!!!”

“Like what?”

“Like….”

A point the show makes early on is that both the victims of the introductory brutal murders were not your typically nice girly-girls. Camille, the traumatised protagonist carrying a burden from her past was herself not a nice girl. Amma, her deceptive half-sister manipulates the nice girl act to defy her controlling mother. But perhaps the most incisive critique on the whole ‘Be a nice girl’ culture, in fact the whole ‘nice’ culture — nice folks, nice manners, nice homes, nice towns — comes in the form of Adora’s character and the manner in which beneath the whole veneer of nice, a whole town is complicit in damning secrets and not-so-nice acts. At one point early on in the show, Adora tells her firstborn Camille, with whom she has a strained relationship (to put it mildly), “I just want things to be nice with us but maybe I don’t know how..” Interestingly it is this very notion of ‘nice’ that becomes the most oppressive and deceptive experience of young Camille, and later Amma’s growing years.

This ‘Culture of Nice’ is in fact the pervasive ‘Culture of Silence’ that women all over the world, particularly in India, are all too familiar with. 

It takes different forms, but always towards the same goal — to silence the not-so-nice details of what the experiences; sometimes intimate experiences of women might be. This Culture of Silence is propagated from the child’s earliest experience of being parented by society in general. Amongst the values that girls receive in our early years — apart from those of being obedient, dutiful, respectful, homely — we also receive the twin headed Chimera in the form of shame and guilt.

“Have some shame!”

“Oh for shame!”

“Shameless!”

“Shameful!”

“Ashamed.”

“Do not bring shame upon…”

Different phrases in different languages, but always with the same implication. Shameful things happen to girls who are not nice and that brings ‘shame’ on the family or everyone associated with the girl. And nice folks do not talk about these things. Nice folks go on as if nothing has happened.

It is this culture of silence that women across the world today, are calling out in many different ways. Whether it is the #MeToo movement or a show like Sharp Objects; or on a lighter and happier note, even a film like Veere Di Wedding punctures this culture of silence, quite simply by refusing to be silenced and saying the not-nice things, or depicting the so called ‘unspeakable’ things that could happen to girls. By talking about the unspeakable, you rob it of the power to shame you; you disallow the ‘Culture of Nice’ to erase your experience. You stand up for yourself and you build your own identity.

And this to me is the most liberating aspect of being an actor, and even just a girl at a time when shows like Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies (another great show on Hotstar Premium), and films like Veere Di Wedding and Anaarkali Of Aarah are being made.

The next time I hear someone say, “Nice girls don’t do that!”, I know what I’m going to say — I don’t give a shit about nice. I’m just a girl! And that’s okay!

Swara is a an award winning actor of the Hindi film industry. Her last few films, including Veere Di Wedding, Anaarkali of Aaraah and Nil Battey Sannata have earned her both critical and commercial success. Swara is an occasional writer of articles and opinion pieces. The occasions are frequent :).

Watch the trailer of Sharp Objects here:

Play

This article was published by the Scroll marketing team with Swara Bhasker on behalf of Hotstar Premium and not by the Scroll editorial team.