Home / Industry / Energy /  In the works—PLI scheme for offshore wind turbines

NEW DELHI : The Union government plans to introduce a production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme to promote the manufacturing of offshore wind turbines, two officials aware of the matter said.

The development comes when the government is chasing a target to achieve 30GW offshore wind energy capacity by 2030. “Talks are underway among the relevant departments, including the ministry of new and renewable energy and NITI Aayog (for a PLI for offshore wind turbine). However, no decision has been taken yet," one of the two officials cited above said.

India already has a 24,000 crore PLI scheme for solar photovoltaic cells and modules, aimed to boost their domestic manufacturing and reduce the country’s dependence on imports from China. The wind industry has repeatedly sought a PLI scheme for itself along the same lines.

Queries sent to the ministry of new and renewable energy, power and NITI Aayog remained unanswered.

In an April interview, Mahesh Palashikar, president of GE South Asia, suggested the government could provide an incentive scheme to boost the wind energy segment.

Despite having a 7,600-km coastline, India has no offshore energy project. Although the Centre notified the national offshore wind energy policy in 2015, the sector has not taken off as anticipated.

Of late, the Centre has renewed its efforts to boost the wind energy segment to achieve 500GW of renewable energy by 2030.

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In June, the renewable energy ministry said it would issue the first bid for leasing out offshore wind energy blocks equivalent to 4GW capacity off the coast of Tamil Nadu in a few months. The ministry also announced that evacuation and transmission of power from offshore pooling substations to onshore transmission would be provided free of cost for all offshore wind capacities that will be bid out by FY30.

The ministry recently came up with a strategy paper suggesting incentives to companies in the offshore wind energy space, including the waiver of transmission charges, renewable energy credits, carbon credits benefits and viability-gap funding. The paper said 16 zones were identified off the coasts of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu for harnessing offshore wind energy.

In April, Union minister for new and renewable energy R.K. Singh said the government would soon invite bids for the 2GW of offshore wind power.

“Our journey is incomplete without offshore wind energy. We will bring bids for 1,000MW in Gujarat and then 1,000MW in Tamil Nadu," he said.

The government’s emphasis on renewable energy has increased after Prime Minister Narendra Modi committed at the COP-26 meeting to achieve net-zero carbon emission by 2070.

India has good prospects of harnessing offshore wind energy, given its long coastline. An assessment conducted by the National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) said India has a total wind energy potential of 302GW at 100 metre and 695.50GW at 120-metre 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. The absence of any obstruction in the sea offers a much better quality of wind and its conversion to electrical energy. Offshore wind turbines are much larger in size (in the range of 5-10MW per turbine) than 2-3MW of an onshore wind turbine.

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Rituraj Baruah

Rituraj Baruah is a senior correspondent at Mint, reporting on housing, urban affairs, small businesses and energy. He has reported on diverse sectors over the last six years including, commodities and stocks market, insolvency and real estate. He has previous stints at Cogencis Information Services, Indo-Asian News Service (IANS) and Inc42.
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