Indian energy minister flags up offshore wind hurdles

Costs and transmission, not lack of policy, identified as key problems

Offshore wind power must overcome serious hurdles in India before it can unleash its potential, the country's minister of new and renewable energy has claimed. The hurdles include the high cost of the technology, poor transmission networks and low electricity prices.

Speaking in parliament, minister Farooq Abdullah said India had a long way to go before its offshore wind potential could be successfully harnessed. "Firming of the wind resource, oceanographic studies, environmental impact assessments and various clearances are required for such projects," Abdullah was quoted as saying in the Hindu Business Line on Monday.

Plans are in place for four large offshore wind projects in the state of Tamil Nadu. With an estimated offshore wind potential of about 127GW, the state is pressuring the Indian national government to develop offshore wind-friendly policies.

Abdullah's ministry has appointed Rajeev Ranjan, who also chairs Tamil Nadu’s electricity board, to lead a committee that will assess the prospects of offshore wind energy across India. Ranjan has said recently that "offshore wind deployment in Tamil Nadu could become commercially viable despite high costs".

Abdullah said India was seeking Danish, UK and German assistance. He suggested that a National Offshore Wind Authority could grant licences for projects, along the same lines as for the oil and gas industry.

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