After delay of several years, India may eventually auction and allocate its first-ever offshore wind energy projects next year.
The Minister for New & Renewable Energy, RK Singh, recently told media outlets that at least 5 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity could be auctioned in 2018. Feasibility study on one of the proposed sites is in progress while a similar survey would begin at two more sites soon, Singh added.
India plans to auction 10 gigawatts of wind energy capacity each in 2018 and 2019 to reach a total installed capacity of 60 gigawatts by March 2022.
The talks of survey for offshore wind energy projects in India date back to 2010. The Centre for Wind Energy Technology (now the National Institute of Wind Energy) was reported to undertake a 2- to 3-year feasibility survey along India’s coastline. Either those surveys were never undertaken or the new surveys are being conducted at a higher hub height to correspond with the current technology available.
The National Institute of Wind Energy (NISE) had upgraded India’s onshore wind energy potential from 49 gigawatts at 50 meters hub height to 103 gigawatts at 80 meters hub height and eventually to 302 gigawatts at 120 meters hub height. A similar upgrade in the offshore wind energy potential may have delayed the government’s plans.
The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, along with other arms of the government, approved the offshore wind energy policy in 2015. While there have been no auctions for offshore wind energy projects, Suzlon Energy — one of India’s leading wind energy solutions providers — was reportedly working on a 600 megawatt project in the state of Gujarat. No recent updates on the project are available.
The news of a potential auction would be music to the ears of companies like Suzlon Energy, Vestas, and Senvion which are operational in India and would be front-runners to supply technology to project developers who bid for the projects.