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India plans greener ports with wind and solar power

INDIA: In a major initiative by the Indian shipping ministry, 12 major ports in the country have started the process of installing roughly 200MW of wind and solar power projects, investing $104.5 million.

Kandla Port has 6MW of installed wind power, with plans to expand to 20MW
Kandla Port has 6MW of installed wind power, with plans to expand to 20MW

The main objective of the renewable energy push is to convert all 12 of its major domestic ports to renewable energy by 2019, making India one of the first countries to utilise renewable energy for most of its port and dock operations.

"These renewable energy projects will help in the reduction of carbon emission and lead to improvements of the environment around the ports," a senior government official told the Economic Times newspaper.

"All our ports are cash-rich... The ports have started the process of setting up renewable energy projects from profits."

In a statement, the ministry stated: "When completed, these renewable energy projects will help in the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions by 136,500 tonnes annually.

"These projects will also help to reduce cost of power purchased by utilisation of renewable energy for power generation, resulting in estimated saving of INR 750 million ($11.1 million) annually, when fully commissioned."

The initial aim is to set up about 200MW of solar and wind energy, with plans to eventually expand to reach 500MW over the coming years.

The starting capacity will include about 45MW of wind power, which will be added by two major ports: Kandla, the largest port by volume, and VO Chidambaranar Port (VOCP).

Kandla Port has already commissioned 6MW capacity out of a target of 20MW, while VOCP has not yet initiated any activity on its 25MW project, but there are further plans in the pipeline, an official explained.

In May, the shipping minister, Nitin Gadkari, said, "Kandla Port has 600 square kilometres of land, which is low cost, and it is economically viable for all ports to invest in solar and wind projects.

"The cost of solar energy per unit has dropped to INR 2.63 per unit and the capital cost of wind energy has dropped too, which will help all ports to cumulatively save INR 6-7 billion ($90-110 million) annually."

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