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Surprise from India

Although India has over 7000 kilometers of coastline, there has been no offshore wind power in the energy-hungry country so far. This is now set to change - and as quickly as possible, according to a surprise announcement by the Indian government.

The Indian government has made a surprise decision to accelerate offshore wind energy (Image: Pixabay)The Indian government has made a surprise decision to accelerate offshore wind energy (Image: Pixabay)

India's government had originally announced a national offshore wind energy policy back in 2015, saying that 30 gigawatts of wind power capacity would be leased by 2030. And the World Bank had made an even higher forecast in 2017: Up to 174 gigawatts would be possible if floating wind farms were built alongside bottom-fixed turbines, it said at the launch of the Global Wind Atlas, a free web-based tool designed to help policymakers and investors find promising areas for wind power generation virtually anywhere in the world.

“There is great scope in many countries for the clean, low-cost power that wind provides, but they have been hampered by a lack of good data,” said Riccardo Puliti, Senior Director and Head of the World Bank’s Energy & Extractives Global Practice. “By providing high quality resource data at such a detailed level for free, we hope to mobilize more private investment for accelerating the scale-up of technologies like wind to meet urgent energy needs.”

However, despite support for international investors, more or less nothing has happened in the Indian offshore sector since then. Now, however, there finally seems to be some movement on the issue, as last week the Indian government surprisingly announced its intention to introduce a new offshore wind strategy. India had only recently and with great delay set itself a climate protection target: Prime Minister Narendra Modi had committed himself after the world climate summit COP-26 to achieving net zero emissions by 2070. Far too late, was the unanimous international criticism.

So far, there are no Indian offshore wind farms, although the country has large potential (Image: Pixabay).

But now India's energy transition is set to pick up speed. Probably also under the impression of the Russian war in Ukraine and with an eye on Europe, which has been trying to break away from import dependencies in the fossil energy sector since the attacks began, India's Minister for New and Renewable Energy, R.K. Singh, had announced as recently as April that the government would soon invite bids for 2 GW of offshore wind power, according to the online portal mint. “Our journey is incomplete without offshore wind energy. We will bring bids for 1,000 MW in Gujarat and after that 1,000 MW in Tamil Nadu."

Apparently not fast enough, as the new plans call for a quicker and larger build-out: The first auctions are expected to take place as early as the next three to four months, with the goal of achieving at least 10 to 12 GW of expansion in a first phase by 2030.

“During the meeting, the transmission and evacuation infrastructure required for offshore wind projects of a total capacity of 10 GW off the coasts of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu were discussed,” the Ministry of Energy said in an announcement last week, according to media outlet Reve. “After a detailed review, it was decided to tender offshore wind power blocks.”

Starting this year, 4 GW of capacity will be offered in each of the next three years. After that, a total of 5 GW per year will be auctioned for the next five years. Given the short time, experts expect India to allow foreign bidders as well, since domestic financiers are hard to find so quickly. As an added incentive, the government plans to offer up to 8 GW of green attributes such as carbon credits in the first two years. In addition, grid connection is to be free for offshore developers.

If the plans are confirmed, the government's support should finally help India's offshore wind sector take off.

Katrin Radtke
India, offshore, wind industry, sector, international, capacity, World Bank, Global Wind Atlas, wind farm, government, support, GW, wind power, wind energy

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