Why India’s offshore wind energy potential remains untapped despite its 7,600 km-long coastline

Three-and-a-half years since the government asked companies to come forward to set up India’s first offshore wind energy project, in the Gulf of Khambhat in Gujarat, the project is yet to take off. In offshore plants, wind turbines are installed in the sea as opposed to onshore projects with turbines on land. The Gujarat project would have a capacity of 1 gigawatt.

By 2022, India plans to produce 5-gigawatts electricity – for comparison, at its peak, Delhi’s electricity demand was about 3.3 gigawatts on November 14 – from such offshore wind energy projects, and expand it to 30 gigawatts by 2030. But a lack of developed port infrastructure, higher costs of installing turbines in the sea and delays because of the Covid-19 pandemic means progress has been slow, according to experts. Currently, India has no operational offshore wind energy plant.

This is despite a 7,600 km-long coastline, and an offshore wind energy potential of 140 gigawatts by 2050. Of this, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu make up 71 gigawatts.

In this explainer, we look at India’s offshore wind energy potential and the challenges the sector is currently facing.

Why it’s crucial
India’s energy demand is set to grow by 3% per year up to 2040, and meeting this demand sustainably will require clean sources of power.

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