In a major boost to the Indian wind energy sector, the Indian government recently announced medium to long-term capacity targets for offshore wind energy projects.
In a press release issued by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, the Indian government reiterated the capacity target of 5 gigawatts by 2022. It also set a new capacity target of 30 gigawatts by 2030. This new target would give much-needed confidence to Indian and global manufacturers and service providers who would have been in a dilemma over whether to invest in this new sector or not.
The ministry acknowledges the fact that this is much lower than the 60 gigawatt onshore wind energy capacity target by March 2022. “While this may look moderate in comparison to India’s on-shore wind (…), this would still be challenging considering the difficulties in installing large wind power turbines in open seas. It may be mentioned that offshore wind turbines are of much larger dimensions and capacities than onshore turbines.”
The announcement came about 18 months after Suzlon Energy started wind quality measurements off the coast of Gujarat. The ministry notes that the results from that LiDAR study have been quite encouraging, and that it led to the government issuing the first-ever expression of interest to set up offshore wind energy projects in the country. Similar studies to assess the offshore wind energy potential in the southern state of Tamil Nadu have also been very encouraging.
Suzlon Energy, perhaps the most experienced integrated wind energy solutions provider in India, is bullish on the offshore wind energy market in the country. Suzlon Group CEO J.P. Chalasani said, “Given India’s coastline of 7,600 kms, the country has enormous potential for offshore wind energy and it can potentially repeat the success achieved in onshore wind energy. The government’s plan to auction 5 gigawatt (GW) offshore wind power capacities (…) is a progressive move and will help the industry achieve the target of having 175 GW renewable energy capacity by 2022.”
The Indian government will auction 20 gigawatts of onshore wind energy capacity by March 2020, giving project developers a time period of two years to commission these projects. The government will also auction 5 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity before March 2019, and developers will have at least three years to complete the projects.