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One of the loudest arguments against wind energy has been that it’s more expensive than coal. According to critics, the higher price is less attractive to consumers, which makes it unlikely the industry will be able to support many wind jobs and provide a substantial source of clean energy. Tell that to India’s wind industry, which has developed wind energy that’s priced comparably to coal.
Thanks to wind technological advancements in the name of convenience, efficiency and affordability, India’s most efficient wind plants can compete rupee for rupee with new coal plants. New wind plants should only be compared to new coal plants, as opposed to established plants, which have the advantage of years of production and operating at lower costs. Across India, modern wind jobs at new developments can provide a cost average of Rs (rupees) 3.5 to Rs 3.6 per Kilowatt hour, while coal averages Rs 4.
The CMD of Gamesa Wind Turbines, Ramesh Kymal, has said, “Coal price in India is around Rs 4,000-5,000 a tonne, while the price of imported coal is around five times of this.”
Kameswara Rao with PwC India remarked on why wind is now a viable coal competitor. “What is working to the advantage of wind farms is technological advancement . . . Larger turbines, gearless machines and better mapping of sites have brought cost generation down.”
This trend is also being felt in other parts of the world. In the US, wind jobs at productive farms are on the rise. Windustry.org, which promotes wind jobs and energy in communities, states, “. . . In the 1980s, wind generated electricity cost up to 30 cents per Kwh. Today, wind power plants can generate electricity for less than 5 cents per Kwh, a price that is competitive with new coal- or gas-fired power plants.”
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