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As part of India’s energy transition, the union government is discussing plans to float tenders for setting up 3-4 GW of offshore wind capacity.

People familiar with the development said these are likely to be global tenders, allowing international players to pitch in. A few sites in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat have been identified for offshore wind development.

“Government has a set a target of 5 GW by the end of this year and initially tenders for 3-4 GW for offshore wind will come up. Talks are underway currently," said an official.

Queries sent to the ministry of new and renewable energy remained unanswered at press time.

Despite having a 7,600-km coastline, India does not have any offshore energy project, prompting a major government focus on the segment to move away from thermal power.

The ministry of new and renewable energy set a target of 5 GW of offshore wind installations by 2022 and 30 GW by 2030 which has been issued to give confidence to project developers in India market.

In April, union minister for new and renewable energy R.K. Singh said that the government would soon invite bids for the 2 GW of offshore wind power. “Our journey is incomplete without offshore wind energy. We will bring bids for 1,000 MW in Gujarat and after that 1,000 MW in Tamil Nadu," he had said in April.

Government’s emphasis on renewable energy has increased post the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s commitment at COP-26 to achieve net zero carbon emission by 2070.

Although, government notified the national offshore wind energy policy in 2015 and efforts have been on to establish the sector in the country, the sector has not taken off as anticipated.

With about 7600 km of coastline, India has good prospects of harnessing offshore wind energy. The wind resources assessment carried out by the National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) gives total wind energy potential at 302 GW at 100 meter and 695.50 GW at 120 meter hub height. Out of the total estimated potential more than 95% of commercially exploitable wind resources are concentrated in seven states -- Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.

According to the government, offshore wind power offers a plausible alternative in such a scenario. Absence of any obstruction in the sea offers much better quality of wind and its conversion to electrical energy. Offshore wind turbines are much larger in size (in range of 5 to 10 MW per turbine) as against 2-3 MW of an onshore wind turbine.

However, the high cost of offshore wind energy is a major obstacle in its development and adoption.

Vikram Reddy V, vice president & sector head, corporate ratings, ICRA said: “The cost of generation for offshore wind power projects is very high compared to the other sources owing to high capital costs. As a result, strong policy support is required from the government..."

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