India prepares to tender first 1 GW

by Bridget Randall-Smith in Windfarms 18/03/2020 4C Offshore

The Indian parliament (Lok Sabha) recently convened to discuss development of renewable in the context of available grants. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) issued an update on the status of offshore wind development off the coast of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.

To date, the MNRE has initiated various pre-project development activities for offshore wind farms such as: resource and site investigations of identified feasible sites; environmental impact assessment (EIA) studies; framing leasing rules and guidelines for assessment studies and surveys. Gujarat and Tamil Nadu have been identified as potential offshore wind energy sites with an estimated 70 GW of potential based on analysis at 100m above sea level.

The government is working on the country's first 1 GW offshore wind project in the Gulf of Khambhat (Gujarat). Data collected over the past two years from a LiDAR deployed 23km from the Jafrabad coast in 2017 has revealed an annual average wind speed of 7.52 m/s at 104m height. Geophysical and geotechnical surveys have also been completed and a draft report is under examination.

The anticipated tariff for the first project would be higher than the "assured procurement of power by Govt. of Gujarat at APPC tariff of Rs. 3.49/kWh". To make the project commercially viable the MNRE has submitted a proposal  to Ministry of Finance (MOF) to provide up front Central Financial Assistance as Viability Gap Funding (VGF). The proposal is under consideration of MOF, Dept. of Expenditure.

All necessary stage 1 clearances for the 1 GW project, as per national offshore wind energy policy, have been obtained by National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE). A developer will eventually be selected via a competitive bidding procedure and will then have to obtain the Stage 2 clearances for the project.

Looking forward, MNRE aims to deploy a further two LiDARs off the coast of  Gujrat and three off the coast of Tamil Nadu for resource assessment along with geophysical, geotechnical and oceanographic studies in selected zones in Gulf of Khambhat (Gujarat) and Gulf Mannar (Tamil Nadu).

The MNRE is in the process of drafting an offshore wind energy lease rules in order to regulate the allocation of offshore wind blocks within the EEZ to developers. The government has indicated a trajectory to install 5 GW of offshore wind energy by 2022 and 30 GW by 2030, but this is considered extremely ambitious.

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