The Indian Government has finally approved a national offshore wind energy policy which may lead to a significant rise in the country’s wind energy capacity.
During a meeting of cabinet ministers earlier this week, the Indian Government approved its new national offshore wind energy policy to promote and streamline the process of implementing offshore wind energy projects. As per the policy, the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) will be the nodal agency for implementation of wind energy projects, while the National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) will be responsible for allocating project sites.
With this policy the government seems to have clarified the long-standing expectation of implementation of a National Offshore Wind Energy Authority. It now seems that there would not be such an authority and the MNRE will be fulfilling its role. The NIWE is also expected to assess the wind energy potential for setting up projects in the exclusive economic zone of the country, which extends 200 nautical miles from the baseline. The NIWE will take approval from all stakeholder ministries, as well as the defence forces, before opening a site up for projects.
It should be noted that Suzlon Energy is working on a 600 MW offshore wind energy projects off the coast of Gujarat. The company has already undertaken a technical feasibility study of the planned project, and will soon approach the government authorities for the requisite approvals.
The NIWE recently upgraded the onshore wind energy potential of the country to 302 GW. The offshore wind energy potential is also expected to be significantly high. As on 31 July 2015 India had an installed wind energy capacity of 23.8 GW which is targeted to be increased to 75 GW by 2022.