Wind power generation has seen tremendous growth during the last 10 years and the global wind power generation has increased manifold in the last 20 years. The worldwide installed capacity of wind power plants is close to 100 GW and more than 60% comes from Germany, USA, Spain and India. The annual market growth for wind power generation is estimated to be more than 30%.
Within Asia, India was the early promoter of wind energy, even before the Kyoto protocol was evolved. After CDM became functional, several other Asian countries also developed many wind power plant projects, using the financial supports from CDM CERs.
The electricity generated from wind power plant can vary from hour to hour, during each day and season. Depending upon the wind conditions at site, the plant capacity factor ranges from 20-40%.
Compared to the 1980s, the cost of wind power plants today has reduced to about one fifth today. The cost is expected to further go down due to mass production of large scale turbines.
Wide ranges of wind mills are available in the market. Wind mills for even few kW are commercially available in the market.
In Asia, a single wind mill of capacity 2.1 MW is already in operation and developments are under way to produce windmills of much higher capacity. More R&D efforts are taking place around the world. Several equipment suppliers have already established their offices and manufacturing facilities in India.
In general, wind speed in excess of 5-10 m/s is ideal for wind electricity generation. Developments are also ongoing to produce wind power at a low wind velocity of 2 m/s. With the advancement of technology, today hundreds of wind mills can be controlled from just sitting in a single control room. The cost of conventional wind turbine power plant is less than US $1500/kW.
Although the unit cost of power generation of wind power plants is higher than conventional power plants, wind power generation is likely to reach comparable levels in the near future. The amount of energy produced by wind power plants depends on wind speed (in general when the speed doubles, the power produced increases 8 times) and size of the blade (when the diameter of the circle formed by the blade is increased twice, the power increases four times).
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