The Tamil Nadu Muppandal wind farm has a capacity of 25.5MW. Credit: chaiviewfinder / Shutterstock.
The Tamil Nadu Muppandal wind farm is situated on the southern tip of India. Credit: Hari Mahidhar / Shutterstock.

Tamil Nadu Muppandal is a 25.5MW wind farm located on the southern tip of India.

The wind farm initially had a capacity of 8.5MW produced by ten turbines erected between March and April in 2005. Additional 20 turbines were added to increase the capacity by 17MW.

These G58-850kW turbines were supplied by Gamesa Eólica for a total contract of €10.5m by the Indian company Pioneer Asia Wind Turbines.

Towers, blades and components of the nacelle were assembled locally by Pioneer Asia. The wind farm is helping to reduce India’s reliance on fossil fuels, in addition to reducing emissions by an estimated 50,000t CO₂ equivalent a year.

Tamil Nadu Wind Farm details

Gamesa specialises in sustainable energy technologies, mainly wind power. The 850kW turbines are for medium and high winds to class IA/WZII/WZIII for high wind sites.

The generator’s drive train has a main shaft supported by two spherical bearings that transmit the side loads directly to the frame through the bearing housing. This prevents the gearbox from being subjected to extra loads. The generator is a doubly fed machine (DFM) with speed and power controlled through IGBT converters and pulse width modulation (PWM) electronic control. This gives active and reactive power control with low harmonic content and minimal losses.

“The wind farm is helping to reduce India’s reliance on fossil fuels, in addition to reducing emissions by an estimated 50,000t CO₂ equivalent a year.”

Aerodynamic primary braking is conducted by full-feathering the blades with a hydraulically activated mechanical disc brake for emergencies, mounted on the gearbox high-speed shaft. The aerodynamic design of the fibreglass blades and Gamesa’s NRSTM control system reduce noise emissions. Gamesa’s SGIPE provides remote monitoring and control with web access.

Gamesa is the market leader in Spain and an important wind generator manufacturer with a world market share above 15% in 2007. It has installed almost 13,000MW of its main product lines in 20 countries over four continents.

The annual equivalent of this production amounts to more than 2.78 million tonnes of petroleum (TEP) a year and offsets over 20.6 million tonnes of CO₂ emissions a year.

The company has its own design and technological development for wind turbines, as well as production capacity for blades, root joints, blade moulds, gearboxes, generators, converters and towers. It can also assemble the wind turbines. The company offers a wide product range with two robust, reliable platforms with outputs of 850kW and 2.0MW.

India’s reliance on coal

India is a heavy coal user and the turbines will help overcome this reliance on polluting fossil fuel. It is estimated that wind energy constitutes approximately 2% of the total solar energy reaching the Earth. That represents almost two billion tonnes of oil equivalent a year or 200 times that consumed by all the world’s countries. However, only a small fraction can be used in practice.

The wind energy harnessed at a particular site is proportional to the air density, the sweep surface and the cube of the wind speed. India’s National Institute of Wind Energy reports that the gross wind potential in Tamil Nadu is 68,750MW at 120m above ground level.

Pioneer Asia of Sivakasi is a leading industrial group in South Tamil Nadu with over 50 years in various markets. It has a turnover above INR2.5bn.

Renewable pilot projects

Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA) has implemented various pilot programmes for wind, solar and bioenergy. TEDA is a leading provider of wind power in India with 61% of the national installed capacity. The first private-sector wind farm in the country was set up in Tamil Nadu in 1990. TEDA now has the single largest area of private wind farms with an installed capacity over 415MW. Tamil Nadu Electricity Board (TNEB) buys energy from the wind farm.

India is one of the world leaders in installed wind power generation with a cumulative installed wind power capacity of 37.090,03MW as of October 2019.