India invites expression of interest for first offshore wind energy project

The National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) at Chennai, an autonomous body under the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has called for ‘Expression of Interest’ (EoI) for the first-ever offshore wind energy project of India to have a 1,000 MegaWatt (MW) (1 GigaWatt) installed capacity.

“The global EoI is intended to shortlist prospective offshore wind energy developers for a 1,000 MW offshore wind energy project in the Gulf of Khambhat, off Gujarat’s coast. The proposed area is located 23-40 km seaward side from Pipavav port,” read MNRE’s statement.

The Ministry has plans to install at least 5 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2022.

For the project, NIWE, the nodal agency, will have to carry out the necessary studies and surveys before final bidding and act as a single window for facilitating necessary clearances required for the development of offshore wind project in India.

In November 2017, the first offshore LiDAR was installed in the Gulf of Khambhat, Gujarat to measure and collect data on wind speed. LiDAR is a detection system which works on the principle of radar, but uses light from a laser.

NIWE has identified the areas off the coasts of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu to develop offshore wind power. The second LiDAR would be installed off Tamil Nadu coast by September 2018.

“In addition, NIWE is planning to set up few more LiDARs for assessment of offshore wind resources. Besides necessary Geo-Technical and Geo-Physical studies off the coast of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu are underway,” the statement read.

At the 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. 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.

This plan, if materialises, would help India towards attaining energy security and achievement of National Action Plan for Climate Change targets.