Chairman Emeritus Reconnect 32 – “Energy Security”

My dear friends,

Energy is humanity’s need after air, water, food and shelter. As a matter of fact, energy is required even to supply clean water,process and cook food and create shelter. Hence it becomes a basic need of human beings. Energy Security means safety and protection of energy availability to all at all times. Utilizable energy potential is limited on earth while its requirement would go up with the growing population. Energy access in its environmentally benign form is an essential part of energy security.

Energy security in Global context

Non-renewable energy dominates the world consumption today at 81%. Renewable energy supplies 19% of global energy consumption counting traditional biomass, large hydropower, and “new” renewables (small hydro, modern biomass, wind, solar, geothermal, and bio-fuels). Of this traditional biomass, used primarily for cooking and heating, accounts for approximately 13%.Hydropower represents 3.2%. Other renewables account for 2.8%.

According to one estimate, with the present rate of consumption, world is left with approx. 200 years of coal, 75 years of nuclear fuel, 50 years of gas and 25 years of oil respectively.

World energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are of the order of 33 billion metric tons. Fossil fuel plants (≃ 50,000) are largely accountable for carbon emissions contributing to nearly 60% of global warming. Sulphur content in coal causes acid rain which spoils the crops. Natural gas is less carbon-intensive than other fossil fuels. Worldwide smoke from biomass burning causes 1.3 million deaths besides 1.6 million from associated tuberculosis every year. Nuclear energy, though carbon free, has a risk of accidents causing radioactive hazards. Nuclear accidents from Three Mile Island in the United States (1979), the Chernobyl disaster in the USSR (1986) to the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan (2011) are compelling advanced nations like US, Australia, New Zeeland, Japan, Sweden and Germany to phase out their nuclear plants in favor of natural gas and renewable energy.


While sun is the infinite source of energy (reflected in several indirect forms also like hydrological cycle, wind, biomass etc.) its utilizable potential is finite on our planet on one hand and fossil fuels have a limited stock on the other. Renewable sources are seasonal & intermittent in nature and therefore need energy storage complements. This throws a challenge for a global vision on securing energy in a sustainable manner for present and future generations. For electricity component of energy the present and future scene appear as in the table above.

Energy security in National context

In Indian context, the utilizable potentials are: Solar-5×1015 kWh/yr., Hydro-300,000 (150,000 Conventional + 90,000 Pumped Storage + 10,000 Tidal + 20,000 Small Hydro + 30,000 Interlinking of Rivers) MW, Wind-231,000 MW including offshore, Biomass- 20,000 MW, Coal-250 billion tonnes, Coal Bed Methane-20,000 MW, Oil-125 Million metric tonnes, Natural Gas- 1,437 billion cubic metres, Shale gas-600 to 2000 Tcf, Uranium-49,000 tonnes, Thorium-846,477 tonnes, Geo-thermal-10,600 MW, Ocean thermal-50,000 MW, Sea wave power-20,000 MW, Energy from Waste-3000 MW and Energy Saving potential-25,000 MW.

When it comes to a national strategy, dependence on imports will have to be minimized in favor of indigenous renewable sources.Rest is techno-economic feasibility. India is responsible for 5.3% of world CO2 emissions. She is importing thermal coal from Indonesia and South Africa. Several nuclear accidents have occurred in India costing 910 million US$ for repairs besides long shutdowns and radioactive releases affecting thousands of people. For India’s energy security, dependence on import of technology and fuel (uranium) adds another negative dimension. Indian mining operations are inadequate both for Biotic and Abiotic resources.

Indian Electricity Sector

Electricity is the environmentally cleanest form of energy at user’s end and is therefore sought after to the largest extent. Barring furnaces, boilers, cooking gas and biomass, solar thermal and transportation sector, almost everywhere it is electricity.


India generates 1,100 BU of electricity in a year out of 21,000 BU in the world, being 3rd largest producer after China and United States. Yet out of 1.25 billion, 400 million Indian citizens have no access to electricity. Per capita consumption in India is 917 kWh against worldwide per capita annual average of 2,600 kWh.Expected growth, resource mix etc. by 2050 are shown in the table above.

Renewable Energy (RE) for “Energy Security”

Per capita consumption of energy is growing continuously in India. Present electricity deficit being around 10%. Nuclear, thermal (coal), oil and gas power plants partly depend on imports for their fuel. National energy security can come from indigenous and everlasting sources like Hydro and other renewables viz. Wind and Solar. Hydro has always been cheaper than other options and Wind and Solar are reaching grid parity. Wind tariffs are already comparable to tariffs related to imported coal. It would be desirable to change the projected Non-RE : RE Mix in favor of renewable energy in a foreseeable future.

Energy security of a nation does not merely mean fulfilling the needs of all by imports of non-renewable sources like coal, oil, gas and uranium but to consistently removing dependence on such fuels and developing indigenous renewable sources such as hydro, wind and solar. This has key to global energy security also. Low carbon pathways will mitigate global warming and climate change.

Satyamev Jayate !!!

Best wishes and Regards,

Dr. B.S.K.Naidu

BE(Hons),M.Tech.,CBI-Scholar,Ph.D.,D.Engg.,FNAE,Hon.D.WRE (USA)
Chairman Emeritus, Great Lakes, Gurgaon,
Former Director General (NPTI & CPRI, Govt. of India and REL), Director – REC

No job is small or big, the way in which you do, makes it small or big (c)

Chairman Emeritus Reconnect 31 – “Windfall of Energy”

Of all the forces of nature, I should think the WIND contains the greatest amount of power.” – Abraham Lincoln

The total global wind power capacity reaching 321,559 MW (more than India’s total installed capacity from all sources) is providing evidence to his imagination. Solar Radiation reaches earth unevenly (Equatorial vis-à-vis Polar Regions) creating temperature,density and pressure differentials in the air. Earth’s rotation drives the atmosphericEngine causing global Convective circulation of wind which has tremendous amount of power. Documented World Wind Potential is close to 100 million MW – actual potential is even higher, according to World Wind Energy Association.

Indian Wind Potential and Development Status

India is placed 5th on the Wind Power World Map, after China, USA, Germany, and Spain. India’s installed capacity is 22,000 MW; Tamil Nadu leading other states like Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Karnataka. India’s wind power potential was estimated by MNRE as 48,000 MW at 30 m height. C-WET placed it as 102,788 MW at 80 m height. According to a study by the Global World Energy Council conducted in partnership with the Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association, wind energy capacity can be as much as 231,000 MW in India including offshore wind. There are more powerful and reliable winds above 300 m. Multi sets of rotor blades, high tower heights etc. can lead to higher energy capture.

“Make in India” Status of Wind Energy Plants

State-of-the-art technologies are now available in the country for manufacture of wind turbines. All the major global players have their presence in the country. The unit size of machines has gone up from 250 kW to 2.50 MW and tower height has gone up from 30 m to 120 m. There are 19 manufacturers in the country with an annual production capacity of 10,000 MW (2nd largest in the world after China). Wind turbines and their components are being exported to Europe, US, Australia, Brazil and other Asian countries, earning USD 500 million annually. Govt. of India has established National Institute of Wind Energy (earlier C-WET) at Chennai with 1) Wind Resource Assessment Unit 2) Wind Turbine Testing Unit 3) R&D Unit 4) Standards and Certification Unit and 5) Information, Training and Commercial Services Unit. Wind project cost in India is one of the lowest in the world.

Renewable Energy (RE) for “Energy Security”

2Per capita consumption of energy is growing continuously in India. Present electricity deficit being around 10%; nuclear, thermal (partly), oil & gas plants depending on imports for their fuel, national energy security can come from indigenous and everlasting sources like Hydro and other renewables viz. Wind and Solar. Hydro has always been cheaper than other options and Wind and Solar are reaching grid parity. Wind tariffs are already comparable to tariffs related to imported coal.

Environmental & Social Benefits

Avoidance/ offset of Fossil fuel generation by RE sources like Wind can reduce carbon emission and mitigate climate change impacts. India is committed to reduce emission intensity of its GDP by 20-25% over the 2005 levels by 2020. Meeting this target would mean saving of 500 m tonnes of CO2 emissions per annum. Present installed capacity of RE saves 55 m tonnes of CO2 per annum. Wind Industry in India has so far provided direct employment to 100,000 and indirect employment to 1000,000 people mostly in rural and semi-urban areas.

Consistent Policy Support to achieve National Action Plan for Climate Change (NAPCC) targets

Since wind power is mostly private sector driven in India (80-90% investments being from private sector) it deserves a consistent policy support from the Government in order to achieve NAPCC targets (capacity addition of >7,000 MW per annum) without any burden on the national exchequer. Besides RPO/ REC, FIT and other tax benefits like Income Tax holiday, concessions in Indirect Tax; Accelerated Depreciation (AD) and Generation based Incentive (GBI)-mutually exclusive, should be continued without any reversals in order to attract Companies with good balance sheets and Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to wind sector.

Capacity Utilization Factor (CUF) and Penetration Level

Annual average Capacity Utilization Factor (CUF) of Wind Energy plants in India is 18.33% (against that of 17.5% in Germany).However, 19%-22% has been recorded in India during last 5-years. Such CUF is because of seasonal and cyclic variation of wind.The efficiency of wind turbine is also low because of energy extraction from thin air in the open space unlike closed conduit flow of a denser medium in case of Hydro. Wind energy penetration level in the Grid is about 4% in India and so also worldwide.

Tower Height matching with Power Law Index of the Tropics

By the time India installed around 1500 MW of wind farms, it was realized that their capacity utilization was very low. This led to a conclusion that India was not a country of very high wind regime. But near the tropics, our country seemed to have “favorable wind velocities” at higher height from the ground. Power Law Index in the windy states was found very favorable which meant that energy capture at higher heights would more than compensate for the extra cost on higher tower and its deeper foundation. Tower heights were consequently increased to 50 m and then up to 120 m for MW size machines.

Wind Energy Integration with the Grid–Forecasting & Scheduling

Grid demand for electricity is a function of time; increasing in morning and evening and reducing during nights. On the other hand wind energy is susceptible to seasonality and time-of-the-day variations. Need of the hour is to ensure connectivity of Bulk power producing large wind farms with Meteorological centers’ forecasting system so that their production can be predicted to the connected load dispatch Center to help system operators in scheduling. This is critical in the states like Tamil Nadu where wind power share has crossed an amazing 33% level.

Hybrid Spinning Reserve or Energy Storage for enabling higher penetration of wind energy in to the Grid

Variable wind and intermittent solar energy cannot penetrate optimally in the absence of a suitable hybrid RE spinning reserve or energy storage back-up; nor can it provide stable power to the grid matching with the time variant demand. Biofuel based generation and small hydro provide suitable alternatives for spinning reserve. Various energy storage technologies such as Pumped Hydro, Compressed Air, and Thermal Energy Storage are available. For capacity addition of 20,000 MW from Solar and 35,000 MW from Wind by 2020; country would need Energy Storage of 5,000 MW.

Power Evacuation Infrastructure and Last Mile connectivity

Access to electricity remains a dream for more than half the households in India. Though we have a National Grid, it needs to be expanded for last mile connectivity to the small power producers and consumers. Till such time RE can be developed in “Distributed Generation” mode. While feeding power to the centralized system, 220 kV EHV lines are drawn by the wind farm developers. However, unless the upstream strengthening is taken up, generation back down is inevitable. Thousands of MUs were reported to have been lost in Tamil Nadu for inadequacy of evacuation facility.

Green Energy Corridor

Based on projected RE capacity addition (>40,000 MW) in 7-potentially RE rich states viz. Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh,Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh, PGCIL produced a blueprint of “Green Energy Corridor” in 2012 covering Intra/ Inter State transmission system strengthening with an estimated investment of Rs 43,000 Cr. , on the advice of CERC/ MNRE. Wind energy should be allowed to be transmitted across the country similar to Solar.

Wind-Solar Hybrid Systems

Since the wind blows in the night and sun shines in the day, Solar becomes a good choice for hybriding on a daily basis. In some cases wind being limited to 4-5 months, wind farms can be solarized to effectively make use of the land and power evacuation infrastructure with 300 days of sun shine. Hybrid systems are possible on small scale as well as MW scale with appropriate system integrators.

Repowering/ Up-gradation of Old wind turbine Sites

Re-powering the old sites having 250 kW and 500 kW machines by retrofitting modern windmills with higher output and higher tower heights would be desirable. A National Plan on Re-powering Old Sites needs to be prepared and implemented. A policy also needs to be announced by MNRE. This has advantage of capacity addition without any hassles of land acquisition and forest clearance etc. However, economics of retrofitting needs to be ascertained including pay-back of old machines.

Offshore Wind

In the past 23 years, 7045 MW has been installed offshore worldwide with individual turbine capacity increasing from 450 kW to 7-8 MW, costs coming down by 30% per decade and wind farms moving up to 100 kM inside the sea from the shore. India has 7,000 kilometers of coastline. Facilitating Offshore Wind in India (FOWIND) backed by a € 4m under the Indo-European Cooperation on RE program is aiming at resource mapping, assessing infrastructure base, policy guidance & capacity building. India is set to introduce an offshore wind policy targeting 1,000 MW by 2020.

In order to leap frog to the next level of generation, a National mission on Wind Energy similar to Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) needs to be propelled across the nation addressing also the issue of Wind-Solar Hybrid Systems to optimize land use and power evacuation systems, besides developing green power out of thin air.

May each day of the New Year Bring Windfall of happiness, wisdom and cheer to you all ! Happy New Year-2015!

Satyamev Jayate !!!

Best wishes and Regards,

Dr. B.S.K.Naidu

BE(Hons),M.Tech.,CBI-Scholar,Ph.D.,D.Engg.,FNAE,Hon.D.WRE (USA)
Chairman Emeritus, Great Lakes, Gurgaon,
Former Director General (NPTI & CPRI, Govt. of India and REL), Director – REC

No job is small or big, the way in which you do, makes it small or big (c)