Gujarat leads wind power surge, setting up world’s largest hybrid energy park


Ahmedabad, Dec 2 : At the heart of India’s renewable energy surge, Gujarat stands tall with its 1,600 km of breezy coastline, where winds rush at 10 meters per second, fostering an ideal milieu for wind energy production.

This strategic advantage has propelled Gujarat to the forefront of India’s wind power sector, contributing significantly to the nation’s environmental goals.

India, which began its wind energy journey in the 1980s, has emerged as the fourth-largest onshore wind energy market globally, boasting a capacity of 41.98 GW. Gujarat accounts for a substantial 9.8 GW of this capacity, making it a vital player in the nation’s renewable energy landscape.

In 2022, Gujarat achieved the second highest wind energy capacity in India, trailing only behind Tamil Nadu.

Looking forward, the Global Wind Energy Council’s March 2023 report outlines India’s ambitious plan to add over 60 GW of onshore and nearly 40 GW of offshore windmill capacity by 2030. These targets reflect a significant commitment to clean energy and a shift away from fossil fuel dependence.

While solar panels cease power generation post-sunset, wind turbines continue to harness energy through the night. This complementary aspect makes wind energy a compelling choice for India’s future energy mix.

The Gujarat government, aligning with national objectives, recently unveiled its Renewable Energy Policy for 2023-2028. This policy ambitiously aims to fulfill 50% of the state’s energy needs through renewable sources by 2030, eyeing investments worth Rs 5 lakh crore.

It encompasses a broad spectrum of renewable projects, including ground-mounted solar, rooftop solar, floating solar, canal top solar, and wind-hybrid projects.

A key feature of this policy is the decentralization of renewable energy (RE) generation, encouraging industry participation. It removes previous capacity restrictions, allowing firms to meet 100% of their energy requirements through their own RE plants.

This is a significant shift from the earlier 50% cap, where industries depended on discoms for the rest. Additionally, companies can now collectively purchase renewable power from Renewable Energy Service Companies (Rescos), saving on various surcharges associated with third-party power sales.

The policy’s implementation, however, faces challenges including rate determination under the new rules and replicating the success of rooftop solar projects in the wind sector.

The state’s strategic location and proactive policies position it as a key player in India’s race for renewables, contributing significantly to the national goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2070.

Currently in development, the Gujarat Hybrid Renewable Energy Park, situated near Vighakot village in the Kutch district of Gujarat, is poised to become a landmark in renewable energy.

Upon completion, this expansive facility is set to generate an impressive 30 gigawatts of electricity, utilizing both solar panels and wind turbines. Covering a vast area of 72,600 hectares, predominantly on wasteland, the park is on track to be the world’s largest hybrid renewable energy park.

In addition to its renewable energy generation capabilities, the park will feature a substantial 14 GWh grid-scale battery storage system.

It is estimated to create around one lakh job opportunities and attract investments amounting to Rs150,000 crore. From an environmental perspective, the park is projected to contribute to carbon emission reduction, with an estimated 5 crore tonnes cut annually.