India has taken the first major step towards setting up offshore wind power farms.
The government-owned research and development agency, National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE), has sought expressions of interest from wind power companies to set up an offshore wind farm with a capacity of around 1,000 megawatts (MW) in the Gulf of Khambat, off the coast of Gujarat.
Offshore wind farms refer to windmills installed on the seabed rather than on land. These support larger wind turbines and so generate higher amounts of power. Give their location, these facilities face minimal space constraints and physical obstructions to wind flow.
However, they come with their own set of challenges, like high costs and transmission issues.
India has an estimated 127 gigawatts (GW, or 1,000 MW) of offshore wind power potential, mostly off the coasts of Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, and Maharashtra, according to qz.com.
And this initiative comes at a time when the Indian government is going all out to tap renewable energy, targeting a capacity of 175 GW from onshore wind, solar, biomass, and small hydropower by 2022. While offshore wind power doesn’t come under this goal, the Narendra Modi government plans a capacity of 5,000 MW in the segment, too.