According to reports, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) announced plans this month to establish a National Offshore Wind Energy Agency, which will be tasked with exploring and promoting India’s vast potential for offshore wind energy production.
Dr. Farooq Abdullah, the New and Renewable Energy Minister, announced the Ministry’s plans during the National Level Consultation on Nation Wind Energy Mission, which was held last Thursday in New Delhi. During his address to the committee, Dr. Abdullah cited the “immense potential” for offshore energy production in India and said he will make formal applications with the Union Cabinet for the establishment of the wind energy agency.
The Offshore Wind Energy Steering Committee, established by the MNRE last year, has identified several key regions for the development of offshore wind turbines, including those along the coastlines of Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Foreign direct investment into the offshore wind energy sector in India has seen a dramatic increase over the last several years, growing from inflows of US$214 million in fiscal year 2010-11 to over US$1.1 billion in 2012-13. Government incentives, including excise duty exemptions and a ten-year tax holiday on profits attributed to wind energy projects, have helped attract increasing foreign interest in the country’s offshore wind energy potential.
The new National Offshore Wind Energy Agency would seek to continue this positive trend by working “towards improving [India’s energy] investment climate by resolving issues connected with resource potential, grid connectivity, clearance procedure and zoning,” according to an official press release issued last Thursday.
“This initiative is part of the efforts of the Ministry to remove hurdles in wind power development in the country, and bring together all stakeholders on a common platform to work in a coordinated and concerted manner,” the release added.
The MNRE hopes offshore wind energy production will be as successful as the Ministry’s onshore program, which receives over US$16 billion in foreign investment each year and has a production capacity of 20,000 megawatts, ranking the country fifth among the world’s largest producers of wind energy.