The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, National Institute of Wind Energy and a consortium of partners in the power sector have signed an MoU for setting up a joint venture company to undertake the first demonstration offshore wind power project in India, specifically along the coast of Gujarat.

The consortium of partners to the MoU includes National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd, Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd, Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency, Power Finance Corporation, Power Trading Corporation and Gujarat Power Corporation Ltd.

Describing the event as a “great opportunity” in the development of renewable energy resources in the country, the Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Power, Coal, and New and Renewable Energy, Piyush Goyal, said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s message in the US was loud and clear, that renewable energy was the way to go, as it dovetailed global concerns about climate change and enhanced India’s energy security.

Goyal suggested building partnerships with defence, coast guard and shipping sectors to ensure seamless and a time bound approval process for such projects along the country’s 7,600-km long coastline.

The joint venture company will initially undertake a detailed feasibility study based on the inputs received from pre-feasibility studies and necessary steps for implementing the first offshore demonstration wind power project, which will have 100 MW capacity.

The ministry intends to provide subsidy for setting up evacuation and transmission infrastructure for offshore wind power. This would include financial support for carrying out studies such as wind resource assessment, environment impact assessment, oceanographic survey and bathymetric studies. The ministry would also assist in obtaining clearances involved during project implementation.

In India, onshore wind power development has reached commercial stage and is the fastest growing renewable energy option today. With more than 22 GW installed onshore wind power capacity, the ministry decided to take up offshore wind power development which includes the announcement of a Draft National Offshore Wind Energy Policy and preparation of Draft Cabinet note on the policy circulated for inter-ministerial comments.

The National Offshore Wind Energy Policy will provide a conducive environment for harnessing offshore wind energy including setting up a demonstration offshore wind power project to showcase technology and build investor confidence.

In early 1990s, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy had taken up onshore demonstration projects in various states. A total of 71 MW of demonstration projects in seven states had leveraged a wind power capacity of around 22,000 MW with private sector investment. Thus, the ministry decided to go in for a demonstration offshore wind power project to showcase its viability in the country.

Worldwide, offshore wind power projects aggregating about 7.5 GW capacity have been installed, namely UK – 4.2 GW; Denmark – 1.2 GW; Belgium – 0.7 GW; Germany – 0.6 GW; China – 0.4 GW; the Netherlands – 0.2 GW; and Sweden – 0.2 GW.

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