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India to build 30GW offshore wind power by 2030

For the production of more clean energy, the Indian government plans to build 30,000 MW (MegaWatt) offshore wind capacity by 2030, a move that might make India one of the biggest markets in the sector.

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) had invited an Expression of Interest (EoI) for the first 1 GW (GigaWatt) offshore wind project in India in April 2018 and set a deadline for the submission of EOIs to 25 May that was later extended to 8 June; the EoI has picked up domestic and as well as international interest.

In an official press statement released on 19 June, the Ministry announced a short-term offshore wind energy target of 5GW by 2022 and a medium-term target of 30W by 2030.

The aim of the offshore wind project is to encourage investment in energy infrastructure in the country, attain energy security, promote research and development in the offshore wind energy sector and to reduce carbon emissions.

A number of leading clean energy players including Sembcorp Green Infra, ReNew Power, Mytrah Energy and the PNE (Pure New Energy) Group from Germany, among others have been shortlisted by the Ministry for the technical stage of the tender.

Although the targets are much lower than India’s on-shore wind target of 60 GW and its achievement of 34 GW and solar target of 100 GW by 2022, the setting up of the offshore wind power is likely to come with a number of challenges regarding resource characterisation, subsea cabling, the installation of turbine foundations and large wind turbines in open sea, turbine grid connection and operation, the development of transmission infrastructure and the provision of adequate coastal security during construction and operation period.

According to the Global Wind Energy Council, in 2017 a record of 4,331 MW of new offshore wind power was installed across nine markets internationally. This is an increase of 95% from the 2016 market. Overall, there are now 18,814 MW of installed offshore wind capacity in 17 markets around the world.

In the global offshore rankings, the UK is the world’s largest offshore wind market and accounts for just over 36% of installed capacity, followed by Germany in second place with 28.5% and China in third with just under 15%.

In October 2015, the Ministry had notified the National Offshore Wind Policy to realise the country’s offshore wind power potential; the Ministry has identified the coasts of Rameshwaram and Kanyakumari in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu as potential locations for offshore projects based on preliminary studies conducted. The surveys indicated good wind potential for offshore wind power in both the southern tip of the Indian peninsula and the west coast.

The press release mentioned that the Ministry set up a LiDAR (light detection and ranging) in November 2017 that has been gathering offshore wind-relevant data off the coast of Gujarat. A private organisation has also installed a LiDAR in Gulf of Kutch in Gujarat to measure offshore wind power.

The Ministry plans to install more equipment and conduct more surveys to understand the oceanographic and seabed condition within identified target zones in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.

The Indian government will auction 20 GW of onshore wind energy capacity by March 2020, which will give project developers two years to commission the projects. The government will also auction 5 GW of offshore wind energy capacity before March 2019, giving developers at least three years to complete the projects.

The Ministry said that setting up these offshore wind projects will add a new element to the already existing basket of renewable energy for the country.

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