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New Analysis Shows India’s Huge Offshore Wind Power Potential

India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has published a report detailing the significant potential for offshore wind energy in the country.

Offshore Wind Potential Tamil Nadu, India was officially released this week at Delhi’s National Consultation on Development of Offshore Wind Energy in India.

Already holding 40 percent of India’s onshore wind capacity, the state of Tamil Nadu had roughly 7 GW of installed wind power capacity as of mid-2012, according to government figures. Evaluating existing wind data in the area, the analysis looked at the region over a 10-year period. The report also proposed a wind measurement campaign and outlined a roadmap towards offshore wind power development.

Scottish consultancy Oldbaum Services delivered the report for the Centre for Wind Energy Technology (CWET) in Chennai as part of CWET/MNRE’s ongoing renewable energy knowledge exchange with the Scottish government. In a statement, Oldbaum Services stressed that a number of requirements need to be met prior to successful offshore wind development in India.

Poushali Maji, technical lead on the report, said, “This document outlines a development strategy for the offshore wind energy sector in India which currently does not exist in this country. With a 7500-km coastline and increasing energy demand, India has huge potential and they need to work towards the development of this sector.”

Oldbaum Services technical director Andy Oldroyd said, “Offshore wind in India is a new area with a growing need for energy and is a complex and complicated business. That’s why it’s important to understand the infrastructure and supply chain in place in India, and lessons learned in Europe, so that they can deliver offshore wind at as low a cost of energy level as possible.”

According to the government’s draft offshore wind energy policy, released in May, obstacles to offshore wind deployment in India include resource identification, grid interconnection and operation, and the development of adequate transmission infrastructure.

Also at the National Consultation, MNRE secretary Ratan P Watal announced that a National Offshore Wind Energy Authority will be formed shortly by the ministry. The authority is planned as the central agency for offshore wind projects in the country, carrying out resource assessments and surveys and entering into contracts with project developers for offshore wind energy projects in India’s 12 nautical miles of territorial waters.

And B.K. Chaturvedi, a member of the Planning Commission, said that because the cost of power generated from offshore wind energy is greater than that generated from onshore, a future policy framework should address this differential. He said the Planning Commission “will ensure highest priority to the renewable energy sector in the country so that it moves forward to achieve energy security.”

A 2012 study by Scottish Development International showed India’s potential to establish two 1 GW wind farms off the coastlines of Rameshwaram and Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu.

India ranks fifth in the world in terms of installed wind energy capacity, with 18.5 GW as of January 2013.

In a third announcement this week, MNRE outlined a new “green energy corridor” project to facilitate the integration of renewable power into the nation’s grid. Germany will provide developmental and technical assistance and €1 billion in soft credit to finance the project, MNRE said.

Read more wind energy news here.

Lead image: Offshore wind turbine farm via Shutterstock

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