Policy gaps hinder Indian offshore, report claims

INDIA: Gaps in the country's offshore wind policy mean it faces challenges to integrate projects into the national grid, according to a new report by the Fowind consortium.

Two areas off the coast of Tamil Nadu (above) have been identified as potential offshore sites
Two areas off the coast of Tamil Nadu (above) have been identified as potential offshore sites

A number of major initiatives, including the Green Energy Corridor and 15-point action plan for large-scale integration of renewable energy, will "certainly facilitate" the integration of offshore wind into the grid, Facilitating Offshore Wind in India (Fowind) claimed.

But specific policies enabling grid integration of potential offshore projects are non-existent, the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC)-led consortium wrote in its Grid Integration report.

No policy exists for delivery and ownership of offshore transmission systems, no framework exists for offshore transmission network planning, and connection processes, grid codes and planning standards do not specifically address offshore wind projects, for example.

But meeting these challenges would aid the creation of long-term strategy to integrate offshore wind, Fowind concluded.

The group made 12 recommendations — including choosing an ownership model for the first offshore sites, evaluating planning regimes in viable locations, and reviewing grid codes — to address these problems.

In the foreword to Fowind’s most recent report, GWEC secretary general Steve Sawyer, DNV GL’s Asia Pacific regional manager Mathias Steck, director general of the World Institute of Sustainable Energy (WISE) G M Pillai and executive director of the Centre for Study of Science, Technology and Policy, Anshu Bharadwaj, sadi "momentum for offshore wind development (in India) remains positive".

They added: "The industry is firmly on its path to meeting the short-term national target of 60GW by 2022.

"This will need the local, regional and national TSOs to develop a long-term strategy for higher integration of variable power generation including offshore wind."

India’s energy ministry (MNRE) has set a renewable energy target of 175GW by 2022. Wind power would make up 60GW of this capacity, but no figure has been set for offshore wind.

Despite this, "thanks to reducing costs, high capacity factors and complementary production cycles to solar, offshore wind has the potential to contribute appreciably to current and future [renewable energy] policy goal," Fowind concluded:

European Union-funded Fowind was set up in 2014 to support national implementation of policies and programmes for offshore wind in India, and share knowledge and experience from Europe, where offshore is most prevalent.

India has the fourth highest installed capacity in the world, but all of its 32.7GW is onshore, according to Windpower Intelligence, the research and data division of Windpower Monthly.

Two feasible sites have been identified off the coast of Tamil Nadu, however, and at a third location off the coast of Gujarat, lidar (light detection and ranging) wind resource measurement devices has been installed.

The Gujarat site is expected to be the location of India’s first offshore project under the Fowind project.

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