The Global Wind Energy Council along with four other partners recently launched a four-year project to develop a roadmap for offshore wind energy development in India, with focus on the states of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.
Besides GWEC, the other partners in the project include Centre for Study of Science, Technology and Policy, DNV GL, Gujarat Power Corporation Limited and the World Institute of Sustainable Energy.
The project, supported by a € 4 million contribution through the European Union’s Indo-European Cooperation on Renewable Energy programme, will work in close cooperation with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, state governments and other agencies to look at the challenges and opportunities presented by offshore wind.
“The Offshore Wind Power Development project supported by European Union’s Indo-European Cooperation on Renewable Energy programme falls perfectly in line with the vision of the Government of India for development of offshore wind power in the country. The project is being launched when the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is also working towards the introduction of National Offshore Wind Energy Policy in India,” said Alok Srivastava, Joint Secretary – MNRE.
Unlike onshore wind, considered a mature, competitive and mainstream energy generation source globally, offshore wind is still at an early stage of development. Most of the 6 GW of capacity installed is in the North Sea, Baltic and Irish Seas. The only other major market is in China, though developments are also taking place in Japan, Korea, Taiwan and the United States. As with all new technologies, the capital costs in case of offshore wind are high, and there is still a great deal of technical and management learning required to bring costs down to competitive levels.
One of the objectives of the recently launched project is to learn as much as possible from the European experience so as to ensure that when India ventures offshore it does so in the most effective way possible.
“We in Europe are committed towards reducing emissions and moving towards sustainable forms of energy, thereby lowering the dependency on fossil fuels and working towards a cleaner climate. This project on wind energy in partnership with our Indian counterparts is driven by the same philosophy – secure, affordable and clean energy for all,” said Dr. João Cravinho, Ambassador of the European Union.
According to GWEC, the international trade association for the wind power industry, the project will benefit immensely from the experience of the partners in the field. Pune-based WISE has been assigned to host the project management unit, and focus on Gujarat. Bangalore-based CSTEP will focus on Tamil Nadu. The Bangalore based subsidiary of DNV GL, the world’s largest renewable energy consultancy, will provide its expertise in the offshore industry. The GPCL will support and participate in the project.
“We look forward to working with our Indian and European partners to help fuel India’s development with clean renewable energy. We believe that with careful analysis and thorough preparation drawing on our global network, offshore wind can make a significant contribution to ensuring that clean energy plays the dominant role in supplying India’s growing energy needs,” said Steve Sawyer, GWEC Secretary General.
The specific objectives of the project include creating an enabling environment for offshore wind through resource mapping, policy guidance and capacity building measures, and assessing the infrastructure base and identifying improvements required. The project will also seek to build partnerships at a technical, policy and research level both within India and between India and EU companies, research groups and institutions. The final goal will be to develop an Offshore Wind Outlook and development pathway for India up to 2032.
In India, preliminary assessments indicate offshore wind energy prospects along the coastline of Kerala, Karnataka and Goa. The wind resource data collected for the coastline of Rameshwaram and Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat Coast shows reasonable potential. A preliminary assessment suggests potential to establish around 1 GW capacity wind farm each along the coastline of Rameshwaram and Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu.
The MNRE is at present making efforts to set up a National Offshore Wind Energy Agency to explore wind generation potential in offshore areas.