Wind energy is broadly identified as one of the most dynamic and cost-effective energy sources among renewable energy technologies. The advancement of renewable energy sources is one of the critical aims of India's Government (GOI) under the National Action Plan for Climate Change of 2008. Maritime wind energy is yet to be expanded on a sizeable scale in large parts of the globe. It has mostly been unutilized other than in some advanced countries such as the United Kingdom and Germany.
To make offshore wind energy at par with conventional energy sources in India, policy management of the GOI supporting and incentivizing its expansion is crucial. On September 9, 2015, the Union Cabinet gave its permission for the National Offshore Wind Energy Policy, 2015 (Policy), intending to promote and incentivize oceanic wind energy development in India. The Policy was released in the public domain by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) on October 1, 2015. It shall come into force from the date of notification in the Official Gazette.
India is blessed with a coastline of about 7600 km girded by water on three sides and has good possibilities of providing offshore wind energy. Acknowledging this, the Government had announced the "National Offshore wind energy policy" as per the Gazette Notification dated October 6 2015.
As per the Policy, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy will serve as the nodal Ministry for the advancement of Offshore Wind Energy in India and operate in close coordination with other government entities for Development and Use of Maritime Space within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the land and shall be accountable for overall monitoring of offshore wind energy extension in the country. National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE), Chennai, will be the nodal agency to carry out resource evaluation, studies, and research in EEZ, separate blocks, and facilitate developers' establishing up offshore wind energy farms. Ministry set an objective of 5.0 GW of offshore wind installations by 2022 and 30 GW by 2030, announced to give assurance to the project developers in the Indian market.
The wind resources evaluation carried out by the National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) gives inclusive wind energy potential at 302 GW at 100-meter hub height. Out of the total approximated potential, more than 95% of commercially exploitable wind sources are concentrated in seven states (Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Tamil Nadu). The precious land resources needed for inland wind projects are progressively becoming a significant restraint. With the depletion of the best windy sites, we expect shifts of market-determined tariffs for ashore wind energy upward in the future.
Oceanic wind power advances a plausible option in such a situation. The inadequacy of any obstruction in the sea offers a much more reliable quality of wind and its transformation to electrical energy. Offshore breeze turbines are much more extended in dimension (in the range of 5 to 10 MW per turbine) as against 2-3 MW of an inland wind turbine. While the cost per MW for offshore turbines are more high-priced because of more robust constructions and foundations required in the marine environment, the desirable tariffs can be accomplished on account of the higher capabilities of these turbines after the growth of the ecosystem.
Key features of the Policy are International Competitive Bidding, Facilitator of Clearances and Intermediate Off-taker, Costs, Environmental Aspects, and Security.
Under international competitive bidding, it concentrates on National Institute for Wind Energy (NIWE) will allow the blocks to the project developers through an extensive international competitive bidding process. It has been explained in the Policy that on the grounds of national safety, NIWE shall possess the right to refuse participation of entities without presenting any particular details. The selection of project developers through a competitive bidding process needs a basis of selection generally varying from the tariff, the total value of the project, sharing of production profits or revenue, rate of the lease on the land, etc. A single window clearance agency or nodal agency, the NIWE has been given the duty of facilitation of requisite clearances for project developers and standard off-take of energy from the offshore wind energy project to hereafter sell it to multiple state utilities and distribution licensees to integrate it with the national grid.