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Wind projects exit Gujarat as leasing land gets tougher
Gujarat appears to be losing its status as the favourite destination of wind energy developers. Most winners of the latest wind auction by the Solar Energy Corporation of India, nodal agency that offers renewable energy projects, have decided to set up projects outside Gujarat because of land issues that have arisen lately, according to several people aware of the matter. Gujarat was favoured for wind projects because it has many sites, especially in the Kutch area, where wind speeds are very high. However, over several months, the state has gone slow on leasing land to projects auctioned by central agencies.
About 2 acres are needed to generate a megawatt of wind energy. Of the 7,000 MW of wind projects auctioned last year, almost 3,500 MW are expected to be commissioned in Gujarat. However, with the state reluctant to lease land, some developers have started buying private land there, an expensive alternative.Also, winners of the 2,000 MW wind auction conducted last month will set up projects outside Gujarat.
With the tender allowing projects to be built anywhere in the country, developers are looking at other good wind-producing states.
Gujarat government officials had earlier indicated that land should be leased out only to projects auctioned by its distribution company.
Winners of the sixth tranche of SECI’s auction include Renew Power, SB Energy, Adani Green Energy and Continuum Wind Energy. The lowest tariff bid was .`2.82 per unit.
“Given all the issues there, we will most certainly not be going to Gujarat,” said one of the biggest winners of the auction on condition of anonymity.
“Winners commissioning projects in Gujarat are those that acquired land long ago,” said a person familiar with the development.
Even equipment manufacturers that also acquire land and offer it to those buying their towers and turbines are considering other states.
“We have not offered Gujarat for SECI VI to anybody. We are looking at Karnataka, Maharashtra and a few pockets in Tamil Nadu,” said an executive of one of the biggest Indian wind equipment manufacturers.
Other auction winners did not respond to queries or said they are yet to decide on their project location.