Offshore Wind Energy: Top 5 Five Things You Didn’t Know

Highlights :

  • India plans to produce over 30 GW by 2030 through offshore wind turbines
  • The country has 194 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind energy potential
Offshore Wind Energy: Top 5 Five Things You Didn’t Know Wind Industry Experts Bat For Extending PLI For Component Makers 

India is blessed with a coastline of about 7600 km surrounded by water on three sides and has good prospects of harnessing offshore wind energy. There is a lot of research, innovations, and investment going on in the field of renewable. From government measures to private efforts down to regular citizens, all are contributing towards the nation’s commitment to go green. While the onshore wind energy plants are driving the growth, offshore wind energy has struggled to take off, mainly due to issues linked to costs, and more complex technology.

The government of India notified its National Offshore Wind Energy Policy in October 2015. In India, where land is limited and the population is ever-increasing, large wind farms over water bodies could well be vital for its energy needs. While a 5 GW target for 2025 seems distant now, the 30 GW target for 2030 is not as impossible, as improvements at both ground level and industry indicate. We bring you the list of top interesting facts you didn’t know about offshore wind energy.

#1 Huge Potential

India has a very long coastline – 7600km. This offers a high potential – about 194 gigawatts (GW) – for harnessing offshore wind energy in the country. For instance, the two states of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu alone have over 70 GW of potential for offshore wind power. In simpler terms, it is energy enough to power more than 50 million homes. To understand it more clearly, as of now, the world has about 35 GW of installed offshore wind energy (located primarily in Europe and China, and now adding up in the US too). Importantly, being close to the coast, offshore wind farms are usually close to power consuming areas too. That can take away some of the cost disadvantages vis a vis solar, for instance in some cases, even as it reduces pressure on land.

#2 India Is Seriously Considering Offshore Wind

India ranked 3rd in the Renewable Energy Country Attractive index in 2021. At COP 26 last year, India announced that it would meet 50% of its energy requirements from renewable sources and go net zero by the year 2070. In the same conference, the non-fossil target for 2030 has been set at 500 GW.

By the end of August 2022, Renewable energy sources, including large hydropower, in the country had a combined installed capacity of 163 GW. Of this, wind power had a share of around 41.2 GW. India is seriously considering exploiting its huge offshore wind potential.
In short and medium terms goals, while India’s plans to produce 5 GW of electricity from offshore wind energy projects by end of 2025 seem impossible, a 30 GW target by 2030 is still viable.

#3 First Offshore Wind Farm on the Horizon

As per National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE), 71 GW worth of offshore wind energy potential off the coast of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu exists for 36 GW and 35 GW, respectively. MNRE has already shared a strategy paper for the establishment of Offshore Wind Energy Projects. As per the paper, eight zones each off the coast of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu were identified as potential offshore wind energy zones.

Demarcated Offshore Wind Energy Zones at Gujarat Off Coast

The ministry aims to auction 4GW of offshore wind by the end of the current year itself, while it is 17 GW by end of 2025-26. Further, it is expected that by December 2026 we will see the commissioning of the first of the 1.0 GW offshore wind projects. Earlier, the first offshore wind energy project of 1.0 GW capacity was planned in the identified zone B off the coast of Gujarat.

Demarcated Offshore Wind Energy Zones at Tamil Nadu

#4 Offshore Wind Turbines are Gigantic

To capture the abundant wind resources turbines can be scaled up in height with blades the length of a football field. Because they are on seas, this reduces some of the logistical challenges that land-based wind components encounter, such as narrow roadways or tunnels.

Offshore wind turbines can be much larger – over 100 metres (in the range of 5 to 10 MW per turbine) – as against 2-3 MW of an onshore wind turbine. Moreover, the cost per MW is also higher.

#5 Undersea Cables to Transmit Electricity to the Grid

One of the most challenging aspects about offshore turbine system is the way energy is transmitted on land after it is produced on the surface of deep oceans. This is done by using a series of cable systems that are buried in the sea floor. The electricity produced is channelled through coastal load centres which further distribute the energy as and where needed.

The World Is Rushing In

While India took its first step in the direction of harnessing offshore wind with its National Offshore Wind Energy Policy of 2015, it is not a recent phenomenon. The first offshore wind turbine in the world came to Denmark in 1991.

India is, in fact, far behind the rest of its global peers. As of 2021, China is the leading country in total offshore wind capacity. Region-wise, Europe is the leading region in offshore wind, with the largest wind farms across the globe in 2021. Within the region, the United Kingdom has the highest offshore wind power capacity, at some 12.5 gigawatts. Others like Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Belgium followed.

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Junaid Shah

Junaid holds a Master of Engineering degree in Construction & Management. Being a civil engineering postgraduate and using his technical prowess, he has channeled his passion for writing in the environmental niche.