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The Cabinet on Wednesday approved the use of offshore areas of the country, up to a distance of 200 nautical miles from the base line, for installing wind turbines and harnessing wind energy to produce electricity under a new national policy.
India is already the fifth largest producer of wind energy in the world with nearly 22.5 GW of installed capacity. This capacity is, however, is limited to wind energy projects on land in eight coastal states led by Tamil Nadu with more than 7 GW of installed capacity.
“Under the new policy, there will be energy mapping of the country and locations with high potential will be identified. After that the government will seek required approval from various departments like space, defence and shipping, before finally putting up these projects for bidding,” power minister Piyush Goyal said in a press briefing after the cabinet meeting. Gujarat coastline alone has the potential to generate 1,06,000 MW while Tamil Nadu coastline could produce nearly 60,000 MW, Goyal added.
While the offshore wind projects require about Rs 8-10 crore of investment for every mega watt, nearly double the same is needed for onshore projects, they former have a much better utilization factor compared to onshore projects. “Off-shore wind energy implementation requires a fair amount of approvals from various departments. What is needed is a single-window system for relevant approvals from various wings of the Central government and state maritime boards too, “ Tulsi Tanti, Chairman, Suzlon Group said. The company manufactures nearly 3,600 MW of wind turbines annually and has installed over 8,000 MW of wind capacity in the country.Tanti added that the key advantages of off-shore wind energy is that large sized projects of 1,000 MW and above can be built with the capacity utilization factor ranging from 45%-50%.
With the approval of the policy, the ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) will be the act as the nodal ministry for use of offshore areas within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the country and the National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) will be the nodal nodal agency for development of offshore wind energy in the country and carry out allocation of offshore wind energy blocks, the government said in a statement.
The scheme would be available for the country’s 7,600 kilometer coastline and the corresponding exclusive economic zone which refers to the 200 nautical miles in the sea from the base line.
The government has set a target of 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022, which includes 100 GW of solar, 60 GW of wind power, 10 GW of biomass-fired power and 5 GW of small hydro power.
Just an hour before the Election Commission declared the dates for assembly elections in Bihar on Wednesday, the Union minister for power Piyush Goyal announced the allocation of a coal linkage for state-run NTPC’s 1,320 MW Barh thermal power project in the state. This will halve the unit’s generating cost to Rs 2/unit. Additionally, Goyal also announced allocation of Rs 1,850 crore to improve the power situation in the poll-bound state.
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