Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme: In 2003, the association had a pivotal part to play in the inclusion of investment in wind turbine generators in the Technology Upgradation Fund Scheme (TUFS) of the Ministry of Textiles. InWEA, through its textile industry members, found that energy costs range from 30-40 per cent of the total operating costs for most of the textile processing industries. Further, the opening up of economy and dismantling of the quota regime had led to price volatility, as the cost of the finished product was being determined by market forces. The situation was pushing textile units to increase productivity and reduce costs. Thus, the use of wind energy to reduce long-term energy costs was thought to be a viable solution.
InWEA spearheaded the initiative and submitted representations to the Textile Commissioner regarding the coverage of the wind energy plant under TUFS. In March 2003, the concerned authority gave in-principle approval to the coverage of wind energy for captive power generation. As a result, the ministry included investment in wind farms in the list of eligible equipments for TUFS. InWEA’s effort was aimed at helping textile units to cut dependence on highly undesirable diesel generating sets producing electrical power by switching to environment-friendly renewable energy power plants.
Forest Land Management: In November 2003, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) issued guidelines for the diversion of forest land for wind energy projects. Thereafter, InWEA and other wind associations suggested changes in the policy guidelines to make it more compatible with the Indian conditions and available technology which later on, approved by the ministry. In October 2012, InWEA approached the MoEF for the review of these guidelines. They were supposed to be reviewed in 2009, five years from the first amendment in 2004. Some modifications, as suggested by the association, include introducing a new clause on repowering (replacing old low power turbines with new high-power turbines); renewal of forest lease for a fresh lease period of 30 years; and installation of met masts of above 100 meters height in keeping with the advancement in technology.
InWEA also played a crucial role in the issue of land lease rent related to wind power projects. The MoEF specified that a lease rent of Rs. 30,000 per MW per annum will be charged for the entire period of the lease which was contrary to the guidelines issued by the ministry in May 2004 under the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980. The ministry had granted approval for a lease rent of Rs. 30,000 per MW for the entire period of lease on the basis of these very guidelines. InWEA brought this to the notice of the ministry. It also underscored the detrimental effects of frequent changes to the policy guidelines. The MoEF recognized the contradictions in the policy and agreed to lease rent being a lump-sum one-time payment for the entire period of lease.
RPO Stabilization: So far, almost all the SERCs have notified RPO regulations and also, recognised RECs as a valid instrument for the compliance of RPO by obligated entities. The Electricity Act 2003, National Electricity Policy and Tariff Policy suggest that SERCs should prescribe a progressively increasing RPO target keeping in view the availability of the resources in their geographical area. However, the RPO targets being set by SERCs are not truly in coherence with the guidelines. Some SERCs have kept a static RPO trajectory, while others have specified a lower RPO level than what is already being achieved by local DISCOMs. InWEA has been making representations before various SERCs for the specification of RPO targets in line with various policy mandates and national targets as specified in the NAPCC. InWEA has also filed a petition before the Appellate Tribunal (APTEL) requesting it to direct SERCs to ensure compliance with RPO regulations and penalise non-compliance by obligated entities. This move is expected to revive the demand for RECs in the market.