Repowering Tamil Nadu’s Aging Wind Farms to Meet Clean Energy Targets

Environmental News from India: 

  • Tamil Nadu has thousands of old turbines below one-megawatt (MW) capacity, functioning past their lifecycle, and, according to wind sector experts, they must be repowered to meet clean energy targets.
  • Fragmented ownership of land and turbines, lack of clear and mandatory repowering policies by the state, the need to improve evacuation structures and grid, and different tariff requirements are a few of the challenges that have slowed the progress in windfarm repowering in Tamil Nadu.
  • While some wind energy developers are ready to work on recycling the old turbines if repowering begins, guidelines for recycling are needed. Ecologists recommend choosing repowering sites carefully and studying the biodiversity impacts of installing larger turbines in biodiversity-rich areas to get repowering right.

In an old wind farm in the wind-rich region of Kayathar in the Thoothukudi district of Tamil Nadu, there are 30 wind turbines, each with a 200-kilowatt (kW) capacity. Many of these turbines are nearing the end of their lifecycle of 20-25 years. Generally, the wind turbine generators (WTGs) at the end of service life exhibit high breakdown rates, require repairs, and are likely to suffer from a shortage of relevant replacement parts as the technology has improved significantly over the years.

What if these turbines could be removed and replaced with the latest technology WTGs that are taller and more efficient? The six megawatts (MW) wind power plant would then generate 16.2 MW finds a 2021 study conducted an economic investigation of repowering existing wind farms, with Kayathar as a case study.

This is just one old farm; if all the old wind farms in the southern Indian coastal state with rusty turbines and obsolete/low functioning components were to be removed and replaced with newer turbines, it would be a huge boost in terms of renewable targets. However, Tamil Nadu had thousands of turbines installed before the year 2000, with less than 550 kW capacity, and the state faces many challenges in repowering.

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Source: Mongabay

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