Prospects and challenges of decentralized wind applications in the Himalayan terrain
T.V. RAMACHANDRA1,2,3,*                                    GAUTHAM KRISHNADAS1
1 Energy and Wetlands Research Group, Centre for Ecological Sciences [CES], 2 Centre for Sustainable Technologies (astra),
3 Centre for infrastructure, Sustainable Transportation and Urban Planning [CiSTUP], Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore – 560012, India.
*Corresponding author:


This study addresses the increasing need for regional wind energy resource assessment with focus on small-scale wind applications so as to meet the increasing energy demands in a decentralised manner, particularly in remote areas. Due to sparse and unreliable surface wind measurements available and expensive modeling alternatives, proven synthesized data were scrutinized for suitability in the study region of Himachal Pradesh. These data procured from NASA-SSE, NOAA-CIRES and CRU based on physiographical understanding of the complex Himalayan terrain were observed to have RMSE of 2.57, 1.92 and 1.32 m/s on validation with long term surface measurements. Annual wind regimes mapped from all these data using geospatial techniques consistently highlighted the dependence of wind speeds on elevation gradient and resultant agroclimatic zones. Wind data from CRU, selected as the most representative values were re-validated by correlation with surface measurements in proximity. Seasonal wind profiles mapped using CRU data were compared with wind variations in surface measurements. Wind speeds in the range of 1–3.25 m/s were seen during Monsoon season (June to August), 0.75–2.25 m/s during post-monsoon and winter seasons (October to February) and 1.25–3 m/s during summer and pre-monsoon (March to May). High elevation zone including Lahual Spiti, Kinnaur, Kullu and Shimla districts showed wind speeds above 2 m/s for all seasons and were identified as suitable candidates for further wind exploration. Certain small-scale wind applications like low wind speed Savonius rotor Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT), agricultural water pumps, wind-solar hybrids, space/water heaters, battery chargers etc. suitable for the study region have been discussed, while also mooting the possible constraints of dissemination. Employment generation through appropriate mechanisms mobilizes local people in these efforts. More importantly, resolute organizational support will ensure smoother penetration of wind technologies. Meeting the energy demands through clean resources like wind envisions a sustainable future for Himachal Pradesh as well as other regions neglected in the conventional wind assessment studies.

Citation : Ramachandra. T.V. and Gautham Krishnadas, 2012. Prospects and challenges of decentralized wind applications in the Himalayan terrain., Journal of Energy Bioscience, Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 1-12 (doi: 10.5376/jeb.2012.03.0001).
* Corresponding Author :
Dr. T.V. Ramachandra
Energy & Wetlands Research Group, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore – 560 012, India.
Tel : +91-80-2293 3099/2293 3503-extn 107,      Fax : 91-80-23601428 / 23600085 / 23600683 [CES-TVR]
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