The mood was upbeat at the Windergy India conference and exhibition from 25-27 April in Delhi, co-organised by GWEC and the Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association (IWTMA). The outlook for the short and medium term prospects for wind power in India was downright exuberant, with talk of 'a turning point', the 'cusp of a take-off', and 'the beginning of a boom'. The 3 day exhibition attracted 163 exhibiting companies from nearly 50 countries with 2,811 square metres of booked exhibition space split over the two exhibition halls. Visitor numbers reached close to the 3000 mark. On the conference side, the plenary and parallel sessions were mostly full through the whole event, even up to the closing session.
Coming off a record year for installations in calendar 2016 of over 3600 MW, when the Indian fiscal year (April to March) totals came out last month it was clear that the industry was on a roll, having installed more than 3 GW in their fourth quarter (Jan-Mar) to end the Indian fiscal year with more than 5.4 GW; pushing the cumulative total to more than 31 GW - fully on track to meet the government's aggressive target of 60 GW cumulative wind power installations by 2022.
There is a great deal of optimism going forward. In the opening panel there were many who called next year's market (India's 2017/18 fiscal year) at 6 GW, echoing IWTMA Chairman Sarvesh Kumar's statement at the press launch of our Annual Market Update as well as the joint GWEC/IWTMA Indian Wind Energy Outlook the day before.
However, some challenges remain. The power market needs to develop and evolve to facilitate open access trading across states; financing costs are very high, usually in double digits, and land acquisition and title clearing continues to be a major headache for onshore development. Furthermore, although a national RPO was announced in 2016, local DISCOMs are largely either unwilling or unable to comply. As highlighted in our presentation on our FOWIND project, the signs are turning positive for offshore wind, especially in light of recent price decreases in Europe, but significant offshore development is still some years off.
Still, the government is committed to renewables development; the economy and power demand is growing, there are still hundreds of millions without access to power, and it might just be that five or ten years from now we'll look back on 2016/2017 as the time when India's wind industry took off in earnest. Time will tell.
- Steve Sawyer, GWEC - this is a snippet from the members only newsletter