New Delhi: The ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) has unveiled draft guidelines on private participation in studies for identifying offshore wind power blocks.

Private entities will have no rights to the wind blocks identified as part of their surveys and studies. However, they will have rights over the data collected and can sell it to any third party subject to government’s approval.

“Allocation of offshore wind energy blocks will be done through international competitive bidding (ICB) only," the draft guidelines said. MNRE has sought views from all stakeholders by 6 October.

India currently has total installed renewable capacity of 58.3 gigawatt (GW), of which nearly 55% or 32.5GW is wind power alone. As per India’s commitment at the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015, installed wind power capacity is targeted at 60GW by 2022. Most of India’s wind power potential is concentrated in eight windy states and the total countrywide potential of onshore wind potential is estimated to be around 302.25GW.

Despite issues like removing squatters from wind power sites, potential delays in signing of power purchase agreements, irregular payments and distribution firms avoiding wind energy, the government estimates that the 60GW target will be achieved.

The Union government in October 2015 introduced an offshore wind power policy , aiming to reap wind power from India’s 7,500-km coast line. According to preliminary estimates, the Gujarat coastline alone has the potential to generate around 106GW of offshore wind energy and Tamil Nadu about 60GW.

According draft guidelines, agencies carrying out surveys of wind blocks will need to seek permission from Union ministries of defence, home, external affairs, environment and other agencies. Any entity can be denied permission on grounds of national security without giving specific details/reasons. Those who are carrying out surveys will also need to give an “undertaking that they will not indulge in any other activity with potential to damage environment and compromise security of the country within the allocated area".

For the study, firms will have to record wind data for a minimum period of one continuous year uninterrupted and all data collected will be treated as part of government’s data bank which can be used for development of the offshore energy block.

Offshore wind energy blocks to be allotted via global competitive bidding only, say draft regulations