As of 2012, India has exploited only 18% of its total wind power potential.
Majorly, the country’s total wind power potential is concentrated in the southern and western states- Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Gujarat. Most of these potential sites are located in the forest areas. To harness the maximum potential of wind energy with reduced impacts it thus becomes very important to undergo for an EIA for wind power projects.
Understanding this, Centre for Science and Environment conducted two day training workshops on the EIA of wind power projects in Pune (29-30 August, 2013) and Bangalore (17-18 September, 2013). The programme had the following agenda:
Why EIA is important for wind power project?
Environmental and social issues associated with the sector
Applicable policy, guidelines and legal provisions for the wind power sector in India
Comparison of EIA process in different countries for wind power projects
Prediction, evaluation and assessment of impacts
Importance of avian fauna assessment , technique and evaluation
How to prepare an Environment Management Plan (EMP)
Best practices associated with wind power sector
Reviewing an EIA report for wind power project
The stakeholders involved were from Suzlon, CLP wind farms, Ela foundation, Bombay Natural History Society, Ferguson College, Centre for Science and Technology, Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Power, Gamesa Windfarms , ILFS, TERI Bangalore, CEMC, NTPC Renewables, Sahara India, IIT- Bomaby, Thiagarajar College of Engineering- Chennai, CSTEP, KSJ Technocrats, Nature Conservation Foundaton, Renewable Logen Asia Pvt. Ltd, Anekal Read Centre, IEDCL, Tamilnadu Agricultural University, Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation amongst others.
The programme receive an overwhelming response with a request to conduct it in other states where wind power projects are coming up for sensitizing the various stakeholders involved.
It goes unsaid that in order to improve environmental governance, the roles of efficient and worthy Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) along with an equitable growth through proper Social Impact Assessment (SIA) are indispensable. They are not merely tools to assess possible impacts and suggest mitigation for the environmental and social issues, but processes, which if done well, can yield unexpectedly positive results in the form of sustainable and equitable growth.