With an installed wind farm capacity of over 14,150 MW, India is currently the fifth largest market in the world for wind power.
Estimates put the available potential for wind energy at around 65,000 MW which leaves a lot of room for expansion. India is being considered as a market of the future by many global wind turbines majors who are lining up to enter the market.
With an estimated wind potential of 8,591 MW, Karnataka produces 1,576.2 MW according to the World Institute for Sustainable Energy. While this places the state behind others like Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Gujarat where wind energy has taken off on a bigger scale, there are many small producers interested in setting up wind farms in the state.
Windmill management is no easy job, however, as industry experts point out, it is a huge investment of financial resources and planning. “Windmill maintenance is a very demanding sector, it is not very easy to get up there and fix problems whenever they occur as there are no lifts,” said Bhagwant Divate, national technical manager for Kluber Lubricants which is part of the global Freudenberg group.
“Wind turbines need to function for 20 years which is their average life span. During this time they see strain on all their parts due to varied velocities, vibrations and idle time, and lubrication and sealants play an important part,” he added.
The height of the windmill increases each MW of extra power it generates. Some windmills can reach up to 80 m in height with blades that spin up to 22 times per minute. Blade manufacture is a science that ensures proper functioning of the windmill. “A minor crack in the blade before installation can run up a bill of crores in repairs if installed improperly. It is very important to use a proper release agent when manufacturing,” said Gerard Lourduraj, Chem Trend. The release agent helps in freeing the blade from the mould in which it is cast without causing cracks in the blade.
“Proper management of financial resources is essential for small players, they are strained by land expenses, lack of regulatory framework in the state for power sales to other states and inadequate government incentives, investment in proper machinery is very important,” added Divate.