The Indian state of Gujarat has cleared plans for the installation of India’s first commercial tidal power plant. The proposal to build a tidal power plant with an initial capacity of 50 MW was made by London-based marine energy developer Atlantis Resources Corporation.
The company has signed a MoU with the government of Gujarat to set up the power plant by 2013. The plant is likely to be scaled up to a capacity of 250 MW at a cost of about $165 million. The project will be developed in partnership with the Gujarat Power Corporation Limited.
Describing the current global scenario with regard to the total installed capacity, Atlantis’ CEO said that the sector is in its nascent stages and compared it with the early stages of wind energy growth ten years ago.
The capital costs involved in tidal power plants is very high largely due to the extensive civil works required. The average break year time for such power plant varies from 8 to 12 years. Therefore, for the project to be commercially viable the tariffs are need to be attractive.
In this case, the power will be purchased by the Gujarat Power Corporation which intends to offer tariffs similar to what are offered to large-scale solar power plants in the state. The preferential tariffs being offered to large-scale power plants are about 8 times more than those offered to the conventional power plants.
The final tariff will be determined once the front-end engineering and design phase is completed. This would give an estimate to the volume of water that would be used for the power generation. An advantage with the tidal power plants is that the power generation can be easily predicted and remains largely consistent over large periods of time. This also helps in convincing the investors to approve credit for the project.
Atlantis is one of the leading companies in the tidal power sector. Last year, it entered an agreement to provide turbines for the largest planned tidal power plant of 378 MW capacity in northern Scotland. Gujarat, too, is the next hotspot for India’s renewable energy sector. The state is blessed with significant resources of almost all kinds of renewable energy forms.
Several Indian and international firms have announced their plans to invest in setting up new industries and large-scale renewable energy-based power plants in Gujarat.
Photo Credit: Atlantis Resources Corporation
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