The Wind Power development programme in India was initiated at the end of Sixth Five Year Plan, in 1983-84. In order to identify wind farmable sites in the country, the Government of India launched a national wind resource assessment programme in 1985. Ministry of Non- Conventional Energy Sources (now Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, MNRE) decided to venture a National Wind Resource Assessment programme with dedicated wind monitoring stations to identify windy locations in the country. The task was assigned to the Field Research Unit, Bangalore of Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, Pune, in mid 1980s in association with the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), Bangalore. Under the programme, 20 m tall tubular guyed masts (tilt-up design) with instrumentation at two levels viz at 10 and 20 m above ground levels were commissioned at carefully chosen locations. The FRU of IITM Bangalore had collected wind data from 448 stations in various states and Union Territories.
After the establishment of National Institute of Wind Energy (formerly, Centre for Wind Energy Technology) in Chennai, the National Wind Resource Assessment Programme has been transferred to NIWE and the activities of FRU-IITM was terminated. Since 2001 the National Wind Resource Assessment Programme is being executed by NIWE on behalf of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. Over the period, the height of wind turbines has seen phenomenal upward trend and thus it was also necessary to increase the height of wind monitoring masts to measure the wind close to the hub height. Hence, in order to fulfill the industry need, NIWE started to install taller masts. Initially the wind monitoring was carried out only in known windy areas. Then it was extended to other areas which are not covered in earlier projects to complete the Indian Wind Potential Mapping. All the states and the major union territories, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari are covered under this programme
Under the programme, NIWE has commissioned 50m, 80m, 100m and 120m height masts with multiple level sensors to collect dedicated wind resource data including wind profile along height. The basic data (wind speed, wind directions, temperature and pressure) that are being collected is 10 minutes averaged as per the industry standard based on 2 seconds samples of wind speed and direction data at multi-level. At present, the sampling rate has been even increased up to 2 sample per second (2 Hz). The data collected under the programme is being used widely to establish wind farms in the country and most of the wind farms established in the country till now are based on the reference data collected under this National Programme of wind resource assessment directly or indirectly.
In order to facilitate wind power developers, policy makers, R&D institutions, in the onshore (F. No. 66/183/2016-WE, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India, Dated: 22 October 2016) wind power guidelines announced by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy indicates to provide measured data from all the wind masts installed by NIWE through financial assistance from Government of India through IT mechanism without charging any cost.
As directed by MNRE, NIWE has developed a webportal to facilitate general public to download wind monitoring station data. The link of the webportal and WRA data policy are given below: