New Delhi: In a move that would help boost its clean energy commitments, India has called for expression of interest (EoI) for the first offshore wind energy project in the country being set up in the Gulf of Khambat, off the coast of Gujarat, according to a government statement.
The development assumes significance given the 1,000 megawatts (MW) size of the project, with the government’s plan to set up at least 5 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind capacity by 2022. India plans to leverage scale to bring down offshore energy tariffs by harnessing the enormous wind power potential along its 7,600km coastline.
“The National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE), an autonomous body under the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE), has called for ‘Expression of Interest’ (EoI) for the first offshore wind energy project of India," the government said in a statement on Wednesday evening.
In September 2015, the Union cabinet had cleared the National Offshore Wind Energy Policy, which involves wind energy mapping of the country to identify high-potential locations to be offered to firms for development through a bidding process.
“The proposed area is located 23-40km seaward side from Pipavav Port," the statement added.
India, the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China, plans to reduce its carbon footprint by 33-35% from its 2005 levels by 2030, as part of its commitments to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted by 195 countries in Paris in 2015. The country plans to achieve 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022. Of this, 60 GW is to come from wind power projects.
“At global level, it has been observed that, offshore wind energy while being better than onshore wind in terms of efficiency is also becoming competitive and comparable in terms of tariffs. With a large energy market in India, the EoI is expected to evince keen interest from leading players of offshore wind turbine manufacturers and developers. Indian industry can also participate along with suitable tie up with global players," the statement added.
India’s onshore wind power tariffs have remained low after plummeting to a record low Rs2.43 per kilowatt hour (kWh) at an auction conducted by state-run Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd in December, beating the record low solar tariff of Rs2.44 per unit registered in May. Earlier this month tariffs remained low, with bidders quoting wind power tariffs as low as Rs2.51 per unit for 2GW of wind power contracts. In the wind auction conducted by state-run Solar Energy Corp. of India (SECI) in February, bidders had quoted wind tariffs as low as Rs2.44 per unit for wind power contracts.
As per official estimates, the Gujarat coastline has the potential to generate around 106,000MW of offshore wind energy and Tamil Nadu about 60,000MW.