India’s Offshore Wind Target Unfeasible, Says GWEC Report

The latest ‘Global Offshore Wind Report 2020’ published by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) has expressed its apprehensions on India meeting its offshore and onshore wind energy targets by 2022.

With around 7,600 km of coastline at its disposal, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) set the target of 5 GW of offshore wind power by 2022 and 30 GW by 2030. India has also earmarked nearly 70 GW of potential area for offshore wind energy development.

While the first target is not feasible, the latter would require rapid development, according to GWEC.

As per the GWEC report, the tender for the first 1 GW offshore wind project in the Gulf of Khambat (Gujarat) has been delayed. The wind council suggested proper planning for such tenders along with demonstration-scale projects to enable India to achieve its targets. The report also noted that India’s offshore wind generation has had to compete with cheaper land-based renewables, which has curbed the growth in this market segment.

The GWEC report added that Tamil Nadu, with a strong wind potential, has garnered more interest among generators. As reported previously by Mercom, Tamil Nadu has nearly 9.3 GW of cumulative wind installations, representing a 25% share of the total installed capacity in India as of Q1 2020. Since 2016, Tamil Nadu has been the leading wind installer in the country.

Wind power installations in India reached 2.07 GW in the financial year (FY) 2019-20, a 31% increase as compared to 1.58 GW in the FY 2018-19. Wind represents 10.1% of the total installed power capacity in India as of Q1 2020. The cumulative wind power installations amount to 37.7 GW as of March 2020. Previously, GWEC had analyzed the factors that led to a dip in the growth of India’s wind sector in the past two years.

Globally, 6.1 GW of wind capacity was added in 2019, with cumulative installations reaching 29.1 GW, as per GWEC estimates. Though Europe was the largest region for installations, GWEC predicts that the market in the Asia-Pacific region is primed to take off. According to the report, China leads the offshore wind race in Asia. However, by 2025 China’s lead is expected to fall significantly when India and other players from Asia enter the competition with high resource potential.

The report also noted that offshore wind has been less impacted than most energy sectors by the pandemic, and could be a crucial part of the green recovery package. According to GWEC, COVID-19 will not significantly impact the global outlook, due to longer project timelines and concentration of installations in the latter half of the decade.

On the future of energy mix across countries, the GWEC report noted that 80% of the world’s offshore wind resource potential lies in waters deeper than 60m. To fully harvest the global offshore wind potential, the report recommended that the wind industry should commercialize floating offshore wind technology.