Why India needs offshore wind to blow coal out of the water

India will need offshore wind to meet demand for electricity that is expected to double in this decade alone – unless, that is, the nation really wants to see gas or even coal stepping in to fill a gap that land-based renewables just won’t be able to fill.

The latest National Electricity Plan (NEP) of India estimates a requirement of nearly 475GW of new installed capacity from all sources by 2030.

Offshore Wind is actively being explored as a new source in the energy mix of India. Government has earmarked areas with potential for up to 70GW and is considering development of sites with 1.7GW of pipeline. At the same time a highly ambitious target of 30GW by 2030 was announced, which will be missed.

This is against the backdrop of cheap prices of large-scale onshore solar and wind in India. The current price for these sources range between $35-50/MWh. In contrast, offshore wind costs are currently expected to be two to three times of onshore wind and solar, which sceptics say makes the case for sea-based turbines look very weak.

But they are failing to take account of the pressure of the scale of installations envisaged in the NEP. There will be just not be enough land and grid infrastructure to evacuate 440GW of renewables.

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