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India moves to auction its first offshore wind energy project (Relevant for GS Prelims, GS mains Paper III)

Gulf of Khambat

In what will help boost its clean energy commitments, India has called for expression of interest (EoI) for the first offshore wind energy project in the country that is being set up in Gulf of Khambat, off the coast of Gujarat, according to a government statement.

The development assumes significance, given the 1000 megawatt (MW) size of the project, with the government’s plan to set up at least 5 gigawatt (GW) of offshore wind capacity by 2022. India plans to leverage scale to bring down the offshore energy tariffs by harnessing the enormous wind power potential along its 7,600km coastline.

Administrative body

The National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) an autonomous body under the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) has called for ‘Expression of Interest’ (EoI) for the first offshore wind energy project of India.

National Offshore Wind Energy Policy

In September 2015, the Union cabinet had cleared the National Offshore Wind Energy Policy, which involves wind energy mapping of the country to identify high-potential locations to be offered to firms for development through a bidding process.

Role in reducing carbon emissions
India, the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China, plans to reduce its carbon footprint by 33-35% from its 2005 levels by 2030, as part of its commitments to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change adopted by 195 countries in Paris in 2015. The country plans to achieve 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022. Of this, 60 GW is to come from wind power projects.

Low wind power tarrif levels

India’s onshore wind power tariffs have remained low after plummeting to a record low Rs2.43 per kilowatt hour (kWh) at an auction conducted by state-run Gujarat Urja Vikas Nigam Ltd in December, beating the record low solar tariff of Rs2.44 per unit registered in May. Earlier this month tariffs remained low, with bidders quoting wind power tariffs as low as Rs2.51 per unit for 2 GW of wind power contracts. In the wind auction conducted by state-run Solar Energy Corp. of India (SECI) in February, bidders had quoted wind tariffs as low as Rs2.44 per unit for wind power contracts.

The offshore site, in the Gulf of Kutch of Gujarat, has been chosen after Gujarat and Tamil Nadu were identified by the government as states with a high potential for offshore wind farms. As per official estimates, the Gujarat coastline has the potential to generate around 106000 MW of offshore wind energy and Tamil Nadu about 60000 MW.

(Adapted from Live mint)

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