NEW DELHI (AFP) - As much as 16 percent of India's electricity needs could be supplied by wind power within the next 25 years, the country's president told a gathering of renewable energy experts
India produces 6,053 megawatts of wind power, a tiny chunk of the estimated 130,000 megawatts of electricity it needs, but its installed wind power grew by 47 percent in the last fiscal year, the Indian Wind Energy Association says.
"I find that in the moderate scenario 16 percent of (India's) total energy requirement can be contributed by wind energy by 2030," President Abdul Kalam said at the start of an annual conference being held this year in New Delhi.
"The present potential of wind energy in India has been worked out to be 45,000 megawatts."
The president also told the energy experts, officials and environmentalists from more than 35 countries at the gathering -- organized by the World Wind Energy Association -- that India was Asia's biggest wind power market.
"The Asian region alone accounted for 19 percent new installations in 2005, experiencing a growth of over 46 percent. India can justifiably be proud of the fact that the strongest Asian market in 2005 was India."
Once installed, the costs of wind power are cheap, running at about 2.5 (.05 cents) to 3.5 rupees a unit, according to the Indian Wind Energy Association.
India is notoriously short of power, particularly in its cities, with the capital suffering a 12.8 percent deficit in the muggy month of August, according to a statement in parliament by Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde.
The minister at the time put the country's generation capacity at 125,000 megawatts daily. But officials say up to 30 percent of power is stolen through illegal connections or lost due to ageing transmission grids.
The Indian government says the capacity of the domestic electricity sector will need to be expanded at a cost of some 170 billion dollars to meet demand by 2012.
India has clinched a historic civilian nuclear energy deal with the United States which will help the power-starved nation establish energy security, and is also increasing looking at renewable sources of power.
India is the fourth largest user of wind power in the world, after Germany, Spain and the United States.