Indian State Earns Nearly $1 Million Selling Excess Wind Power In 14 Days

Photo-illustration: Pixabay

The record wind energy generation that India witnessed brought in record revenue (and profit!) for the state of Tamil Nadu, the leading producer of wind power in the country.

According to officials, the state power distribution company sold 11.94 gigawatt-hours of wind power over 14 days in August of this year on the open market. Around 500 megawatts of wind power was sold per day in the market for two to four hours over the 14-day period.

This exercise reaped revenue of more than Rs 61 million ($0.95 million). The average per unit cost translates into around Rs 5.16/kWh (7.9¢/kWh). The Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Company Limited (TANGEDCO) buys wind power at tariffs of Rs 3.00-4.15/kWh (4.6-6.4¢/kWh). The company thus earned a profit of Rs 1.01-2.16 on each kilowatt-hour of electricity sold. The overall profit for the company is around Rs 12 to 26 million ($183,725-$398,071) during this period.

Given that this is the first time that TANGEDCO has actually managed to generate a profit by selling wind power speaks volumes of the opportunity that the company will have every year during the monsoon season of high-speed winds.

Tamil Nadu, and India, witnessed the highest-ever wind energy generation this year. In July, Tamil Nadu witnessed 5 gigawatts of wind energy generation for the first time ever, while in August it recorded the highest-ever single day generation, exceeding 100 gigawatt-hours.

The state had to reduce generation from thermal power plants by 50% in order to accommodate the excess wind power in the grid. However, around 40% of the wind power generated was lost due to inadequate transmission capacity.

In July we reported that for more than 2 hours on July 11th, Tamil Nadu generated a record 5,079 megawatts of wind power. This forced TANGEDCO to shutdown 1,020 megawatts of thermal power capacity and operate several other power plants at half of their capacity.

While the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy has directed all states to procure all electricity generated from solar and wind energy projects, even if they have to shutdown thermal power plants, this directive has not been implemented fully. One of the major reasons for this is the lack of adequate transmission capacity and the intermittent nature of these power technologies which puts traditional grid infrastructure at risk.