India to introduce offshore wind energy policy targeting 1 gigawatt

India is set to introduce an offshore wind energy policy targeting 1 gigawatt by 2020, seeking to mimic Europe’s success in generating power at sea.

The ministry of new and renewable energy will seek cabinet approval for the policy shortly, according to joint secretary Alok Srivastava. “Development of the technology has made offshore wind farm projects viable now,” Srivastava said by phone on Thursday.

“By 2018, the cost of electricity from offshore windmills will equal that of land-based projects in the country,” he said. Wind farms in some states in India are generating power cheaper than new coal plants.

India, which has installed 21 gigawatts of wind power, is looking to expand at sea as the best sites on land fill up, while poor roads limit the introduction of larger, more productive turbines. It’s seeking advice from the European Union because the bulk of the world’s offshore farms have been built in the North, Irish and Baltic Seas.

“The government plans to set up a new company by January to develop offshore projects,” Srivastava said. State-owned generator NTPC Ltd, Power Grid Corp. of India Ltd, and a few others will form the business, which may start with 100 megawatts of demonstration projects along the coasts of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu states, he said.

“India is also considering small, offshore wind farms for the Lakshwadeep, Andaman and Nicobar islands to reduce their dependence on expensive diesel generators for power,” he said.