In order to tap the off-shore wind potential for power generation, the union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved the National Offshore Wind Energy Policy.
The ministry of new and renewable energy has been authorised as the modal ministry for use of offshore areas within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the country, while the National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) has been authorized as the nodal agency for development of offshore wind energy and to carry out allocation of offshore wind energy blocks, coordination and allied functions with related ministries and agencies.
The approval paves way for offshore wind energy developmen including, setting up of offshore wind power projects and research and development activities in waters in or adjacent to the country, up to the seaward distance of 200 nautical miles (EEZ of the country) from the base line, a government statement said.
According to the government, preliminary assessments along the 7,600 km long Indian coastline have indicated prospects of development of offshore wind power.
The scheme would be applicable throughout the country depending upon offshore wind potential availability.
"It is a welcome decision by the government to explore the off-shore wind potential for power generation. The PLF (plant load factor) of off-shore wind turbines will be higher than the on-shore projects," Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association chairman Madhusudan Khemka told IANS.
He said the cost per MW of off-shore wind power project will be higher by 50-100 percent as compared to on-shore projects depending on the water depth.
Suzlon Group's chairman Tulsi Tanti also welcomed the cabinet decision which marks an epoch in India's renewable energy history.
"With a coastline of 7,600 km, India has enormous off-shore wind energy potential and cabinet approval is set in right direction to unlock this opportunity," he said in a statement, adding he hoped the government's decision would simplify the process of getting approvals and create single window clearance system.
"One of the key advantages of off-shore wind energy is that large sized projects of 1,000 MW and above can be built with the capacity utilization factor ranging from 45-50 percent. This also enables better utilization of transmission infrastructure and better dispatchability, with insignificant impact on land requirements," Tanti said.
According to him, Suzlon is currently conducting a techno-commercial feasibility study in Gujarat which has a 1,600 km coastline.
Tanti said the company has already identified more than 1,000 MW off-shore wind energy potential on the Kutch coast in Gujarat.
India has achieved significant success in the onshore wind power development, with over 23 GW of wind energy capacity already installed and generating power.