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Planning Commission of India talks about need to expand wind power in the 12’th five year plan using offshore wind

As a thought leader, Panchabuta  had pondered about offshore wind in India in the middle of last year. (Offshore wind farm in India…when?)  

In November last year, Deepak Gupta, secretary, ministry of new and renewable energy, had announced that a study was being undertaken with the help of Chennai-based Centre for Wind Energy Technology (C-WET) to ascertain the feasibility of setting up wind farms in India’s offshore areas.

Further one has to wonder how the approvals for such a project would be in India and given that the wind turbines would be located in the sea.  The cost of offshore wind farms are typically 2-2.5 times the traditional wind farms and face challenges in terms of technology, implementation as well as environment.

We  had mentioned in February this year, the  initial feasibility study for offshore wind potential is  expected to take 2-3 years and has talked about the complexity involved in the  approvals for such projects  in India, given that the wind turbines would be located in the sea. 

According to reports, India may take two years to study and gather data on the potential for offshore wind energy, a minister said. Preliminary studies indicate that coastal areas off Tamil Nadu and Gujarat states may have potential, Farooq Abdullah, minister of new and renewable energy, said in a written reply to questions in parliament.

The results from the studies need to be validated by setting up offshore masts to measure one to two years of wind speed data and by analyzing the seabed to see if it can provide an adequate foundation for offshore wind projects, he said.

Given all these challenges, we had wondered last year  if MNRE in India had plans to set up at least a few demonstration  projects and a small target  for offshore wind in the twelfth plan period like that planned for solar in the JNNSM in this plan period.

If this can be accomplished in the next plan period it will be a big step in the right direction for the offshore turbine manufacturers and a new market with very high potential.

According to reports, making a presentation to the Prime Minister at the full-fledged meeting of the Commission, Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia said: “There is a need to create a minimum of 1,00,000 MW new power capacity during the 12th Plan period. Nuclear power must be expanded with further safety measures.”

 The Commission also said that there was a need to quickly expand wind power with the use of off-shore wind potential and technological innovations. It said the ‘Solar Mission’ should gradually lead to reduction in power cost per unit though it would still be above traditional fuels, it added.

It is glad to see the report by the planning commission talking about the increased energy requirements and the role of offshore wind and the potential that Panchabuta has been talking about for about a year now.

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