Offshore Wind Energy in India

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Offshore Wind energy sector is being touted as the next best source of energy as it is cost effective, developed and proven to meet the ever growing demands of the world’s electricity consumption. It usually involves constructing the wind turbine which produces energy to generate electricity. These wind turbines are usually constructed off the coasts on the continental shelfs. The offshore wind energy has a greater potential than the onshore one. As far as the current trend and availability of onshore sites are concerned most of the sites have already been utilized up until now and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find new onshore sites. This necessitates the development of offshore sites as there are no land constraints and also the wind speed is much steadier along offshore sites than onshore. India is the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China. The adoption of the new renewable sources of energy will add a capacity of 175 GW by 2022 with 60 GW coming from the wind power projects. While India has achieved significant success in the onshore wind sector generating as much as 24 GW of wind energy its off shore wind power projects is still in a state of infancy. It was only till as recently in October 2015 that the government first developed its policy of National Offshore Wind Energy which has sought out a detailed roadmap for the sector.

Globally as per the latest data available around 8.7 GW of offshore wind capacity has already been installed with countries such as United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, China, The Netherlands and Sweden leading the charge. The UK is the world’s largest offshore wind energy market and generates around 36% of the installed capacity. Overall there are 18,81MW of installed capacity offshore wind capacity in 17 markets.

Developments in India include identifying areas for the potential of wind generation. Areas such as Pamban island off the Tamil Nadu coast in Rameshwaram, Kanyakumari and the Gujarat Coast show a reasonable potential. Suzlon, one of the largest windmill manufacturers has already started a functional plant to collect wind energy off the Gujarat coast. National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) under the Ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) has set up a 100 m mast in Rameshwaram to measure wind speeds in the region. SterlitePower has recently partnered with foreign wind developers to jointly bid for the 1 GW power project that will transmit electricity of India’s first offshore farm wind farm of the Gujarat Coast. The government plans to set up atleast 5 GW of offshore capacity by 2022 and 30 GW by 2030.

Thus we see that that the offshore wind energy sector has a huge potential in India and the government has already taken measures to promote its reach. Globally this sector has also shown a greater potential for employment generation and economic development as compared to the onshore ones due to its higher cost of installing, operating and maintenance than the land based ones. As India needs to add a huge number of jobs to feed its ever growing population the development of the onshore wind energy sector is a step in the right direction. All in all it promises to be an exciting time for the growth of the offshore wind energy sector and has the potential to take India among the world’s top harvester of this renewable and clean energy resource for its burgeoning population.

Rohin Nautiyal

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India is marred with a complex social, economic and political structure, which requires innovative solutions to solve the most difficult problems of today. India is also a land of opportunities despite its challenges, mainly due to its demographic dividend and cultural diversity. The Dialogue is founded with the vision of harnessing the opportunities present in India today by reinventing the policy and political discourse in order to drive a forward looking narrative for the country.