State Of Offshore Wind Power in India

Highlights :

  • India plans to produce 5 GW of electricity from offshore wind energy projects by 2022, and expand it to 30 GW by 2030
  • The country has an offshore wind energy potential of 140 GW by 2050, with Gujarat and Tamil Nadu lead
State Of Offshore Wind Power in India

The Indian renewable energy sector has grown at a compounded annual growth rate of over 15.50 per cent in the last five years, with wind sector growth at about 8 per cent. India’s energy use is slated to grow by 3% per annum up to 2040. All this, even as the country has committed to source 50% of energy from renewable energy by 2030. This necessitates the need for clean sources of power in order to meet this demand sustainably. It is notable that apart from solar energy, wind energy sector is a major contributor to India’s renewable energy.

India, which is a South Asian leader in the wind energy sector, is led by the indigenous wind power industry and has shown consistent progress. India’s capacity to generate electricity from wind has reached an impressive 40.7 gigawatts (GW) by May 2022. An addition of another 20 GW over the next five years is in the offing, according to Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). While the onshore wind energy plants are driving the growth, the idea of offshore wind energy is novel to the country.

Several roadblocks on the way have impeded the growth in the promising sector- the development of port infrastructure, higher costs of installing turbines in the sea, and the recent delays because of the Covid-19 pandemic, to name a few. However, exploiting the potential of offshore wind energy could steer India in a positive direction as far as energy is concerned, since the country boasts of a coastline of about 7600 km and is flanked by water bodies. on three sides.

Offshore Wind Energy: Benefits

Since offshore wind energy farms are built not on land but on oceans, they offer various advantages. In India, where land is limited and the population is ever-increasing, large wind farms over water bodies will be vital for its energy needs.

Notably, the wind turbines used for onshore and offshore wind energy farms are different as offshore wind turbines are more efficient as compared to onshore ones. This helps them to generate more electricity per installed capacity as the speed of wind over water bodies is high and consistent in direction. Additionally, offshore wind is stronger during daytime, ensuring a more consistent and efficient electricity generation when consumer demand is at its highest. Further, offshore wind farms have a higher capacity utilisation factor (CUF) over onshore wind farms. Therefore, offshore wind power allows for longer operating hours.

Building bigger and taller offshore windmills could result in increased energy harvest for India because the wind flow will not be restricted by obstructions, such as hills or buildings.

Government Initiatives: Offshore Wind Energy

To take advantage of its vast potential, the government of India notified its National Offshore Wind Energy Policy in October, 2015. Its objectives included exploring and promoting the deployment of offshore wind farms in India’s Exclusive Economic Zone, encouraging investment in energy infrastructure, boosting the indigenisation of offshore wind energy technologies, creating skilled manpower and employment in the sector, developing coastal infrastructure and supply chain to support heavy construction and fabrication work as well as the operation & maintenance activities, and others. The first offshore wind tender is expected to be launched by September or around that time this year.

Interestingly, India plans to produce 5 GW of electricity from offshore wind energy projects, and expand it to 30 GW by 2030. Additionally, the country has an offshore wind energy potential of 140 GW by 2050, with Gujarat and Tamil Nadu being the leading states making up about 71GW of this figure.

Growth of Offshore Wind Energy in India

The discussions around offshore wind first began in Indian in year 2010  when the National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) invited leading offshore wind technology suppliers to begin discussions and seek advice in 2010. The sector further saw the projects like Facilitating Offshore Wind in India (FOWIND 2013-18) and First Offshore Wind Project of India (FOWPI 2016-19). The FOWIND (2014) project successfully identified 16 potential zones in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat, with a concept design of150 to 504 MW. NIWE was identified as the nodal agency through the 2015 Notification for the development of offshore wind energy in India.

As per NIWE, 36 GW worth of offshore wind energy potential exists off the coast of Gujarat alone. The Tamil Nadu coast, at the same time, offers nearly 35 GW of offshore wind energy potential. Despite a policy to establish the sector in the country, the sector has not grown as anticipated.

It’s been half a decade since the idea to set up India’s first offshore wind energy project, in the Gulf of Khambhat in Gujarat. The project would have a capacity of 1 GW. The obstruction is due to the high CAPEX and practically no government support. Furthermore, a GWEC report highlights that no tender has been floated for an offshore wind project in Tamil Nadu, yet. However, the state of Tamil Nadu has reportedly been in talks with Denmark for India’s first offshore floating wind park in the Gulf of Mannar.

Carrying the ambition of the offshore wind in 2022, India eyes to float tenders for setting up 3-4 GW of offshore wind power capacity, targeting a few sites in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.

India-EU Bilateral Agreement

India has been working in the direction of establishing intergovernmental cooperation through bilateral agreements with European countries in order to develop a booming offshore wind market and related technical capabilities. In 2019, a bilateral agreement (later reconfirmed with a green strategic partnership) was signed with Denmark. Notably, India and Denmark launched the ‘Centre of Excellence on Offshore Wind’ for support in developing offshore wind energy sector.

China’s Staggering Growth, Lights on India

Overall, the Wind power sector is booming in the Asian heavyweight China. In addition to around 30.67 GW of onshore wind energy, China’s offshore wind energy sector saw a 16.9 GW increase in capacity, greater than every other country combined in the past five years. Most of this growth has come in the past 12 months in fact. This enormous growth would spill over and present opportunities for countries such as India, Australia, Japan and South Korea to take their offshore wind potential more seriously.

Policy support is one such aspect that India may use to push its growth in the sector. For instance, one of the first progressive policies by the Chinese government that boosted onshore wind power was the generous tariffs to wind power in 2014. Though, Recently, China saw its tariffs move from a set price to a guide price for its offshore wind power. Today, China has over 80 policies in full force, over different areas of the energy market.

Implications on India

China already stole the thunder from India when it became the first country outside of Europe to establish an offshore wind power demonstration project, that eventually started generating power in June 2010 – the Shanghai Donghai Bridge offshore wind farm – with a capacity of 102 MW. The starkness of comparison may be understood by the fact that China set targets for offshore wind development of 5GW by 2015 and 30 GW by 2020, which is a decade ahead of India. Unsurprisingly, the nation now operates almost half of the world’s installed offshore wind, with 26 GW of a total of 54 GW worldwide. This poses a major milestone for India to look up to if it has to take global leadership in the renewable sector on its shoulders.

Way Ahead

In the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war, the need for a country to be self-sufficient in the energy sector in visible. For instance, EU is dependent on Russia for 40 per cent of its natural gas and a large part of its oil imports. The EU Commissioner Chief made her intentions clear of decreasing the dependence on Russia by putting in efforts towards boosting the investments in renewables, primarily wind and solar.

Contrastingly, India has been making progress on paper – by signing bilateral treaties and setting up a Centre of Excellence on Offshore Wind in collaboration with Denmark to procure an understanding of the practicality and experience. But these efforts are not enough. The infrastructure development would be a key in attracting investors and boosting the offshore wind energy sector, which would contribute another piece to the puzzle of renewable growth that India needs to solve.

"Want to be featured here or have news to share? Write to info[at]

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.