New Guidelines for Wind Turbine Placement Focus on Optimizing Output

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has amended the criteria for micro-siting onshore wind power to focus on optimized output rather than the minimum distance between turbines.

The new guidelines allow developers to leverage advanced wind flow modeling and optimization tools to determine the most efficient placement of wind turbine generators within their allocated land.

The guidelines also stipulate a minimum distance from public infrastructure and a 500-meter buffer zone between turbines and clusters of dwellings, which is defined as at least 15 inhabited buildings, to mitigate noise concerns.

Additionally, wind farm developers must maintain a minimum distance from certain infrastructure equal to the turbine’s hub height, plus half its rotor diameter, plus an additional five meters. This buffer applies to public roads designated by state or central governments, railway tracks, highways, buildings, public institutions, and extra-high voltage power lines.

The guidelines encourage a more nuanced approach to turbine placement, taking into account factors such as terrain conditions, wind patterns, and overall farm efficiency. The guidelines mandate site assessment as per international standards published by the International Electrotechnical Commission, considering extreme wind, flow inclination, vertical wind shear, and turbulence with added wake effects and terrain complexity.

Under the revised criteria, developers must maintain specific distances between turbines owned by different entities. A 5D distance (five times the rotor diameter) is required for turbines perpendicular to the predominant wind direction, while a 7D distance applies to turbines in line with the wind direction.

However, when neighboring turbines owned by different parties have different rotor sizes, the larger rotor’s diameter will be used to calculate the required 5D and 7D spacing. However, adjacent turbine developers or owners may agree to reduce these distances if they mutually consent to do so.

The MNRE says that these new guidelines will optimize land utilization in areas with wind resources and facilitate repowering and intercropping initiatives.

India added 1.2 GW of new wind energy capacity in the first quarter of 2024, a 56% surge from 737.9 MW last year, according to Mercom India Research. The cumulative wind capacity as of March 2024 stood at 45.9 GW, compared to 44.7 GW at the end of the fourth quarter of 2023.

Solar and wind energy generation has complemented thermal power in meeting India’s unprecedented power demand this summer, with renewables accounting for 15% of total power generated on May 30, 2024, when the daytime peak power demand scaled a new high of 250 GW. The Ministry of Power said support from renewable energy sources, especially solar during solar hours and wind during non-solar hours, was “very significant” in meeting the demand.

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