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First Offshore wind energy project in India could be onshore

According to reports, Dhanushkodi in southern Tamil Nadu will probably be the only point in the world which has some offshore activities on land.

It lies at the tip of a finger of land that juts nine km into the sea and has all the offshore features.

Such a location is a Godsend for the Centre for Wind Energy Technology (C-WET), a Government arm, which has just received all clearances to go ahead with a project to collect wind data.

At Dhanushkodi, C-WET will put up a 100-metre mast and collect data such as wind speed, direction and solar radiation, at seven different heights along the mast.

Such a mast at an offshore location will cost close to Rs 20 crore, but C-WET will be able to wrap up the project in under Rs 2 crore, said Dr S. Gomathinayagam, Executive Director, C-WET.

C-WET has roped in experts from the National Institute of Ocean Technology and the Central Electrochemical Research Institute, Karaikudi, to arrive at specifications for the steel tower.

(The latter’s help is needed for the anti-corrosive paint.)

The structure will be a ‘guided mast’, anchored by steel wires. Thus, pretty soon, India will have offshore wind data for the first time.

C-WET wants to do it at four locations on the Indian coast, and Dhanushkodi will be the first.

The other locations are yet to be decided.

Three companies – Suzlon, Bharat Light and Power and Greenshore Energy — have separately given proposals to set up offshore wind farms off Tamil Nadu coast, to the Tamilnadu Energy Development Agency.

More than issues such as technology and logistics, the devil about offshore wind farms is about which body of the government will give clearances for setting up the farms. Defence? Shipping? MNRE? But not to worry — the Government of India is working on it.

An inter-ministerial sub-group has been formed to develop guidelines for ‘sea bed leasing’. The Chairman of Tamil Nadu Electricity Board will head the sub-group.

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