Asia-Pacific's first-ever offshore wind energy test facility to come up in India

Written By: Sidharth MP WION
Chennai  Updated: Apr 07, 2022, 10:23 PM(IST)

An offshore wind energy test facility is being set up in Tamil Nadu's Dhanushkodi (representative image). Photograph:( Twitter )

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Being built at a total cost of Rs 3,500 million, bids for the two turbines (to be installed at the test facility) will be soon issued to original equipment manufacturers. The relevant agencies are considering turbines that can each generate anywhere between 8-12 MW. With a coastline that spans 7,500 km and immense energy requirements, India has great potential to develop offshore and near shore wind energy projects

The offshore wind energy test facility, which is being set up by India's National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) in Tamil Nadu's Dhanushkodi, is regarded as the first such project in the Asia-Pacific region.  

Funded by the Government of India, this project is expected to come up in two years and will involve the setting up of two wind turbines of over 8MW (megawatt) capacity, in order to perform studies and collect data on the feasibility of large-scale projects of this kind.  

Such facilities are required to test turbines for specific Indian conditions, as against European conditions, where most tests are conducted by default. Notably, wind turbines from Europe don’t perform at their optimum in India, given the difference in conditions. 

“We will be setting up an offshore wind energy test bed and research centre at Dhanushkodi (a narrow strip of land in Tamil Nadu's Ramanathapuram District). We have got 75 acres of land allotted for the project. Generally, turbines are tested only in Europe and their wind profile is different. Testing here in Indian conditions will give us confidence to re-design the turbines for best performance in Indian conditions. In Europe, the average windspeed is around 10 meters per second, whereas it is around 7.5-9m/s in India,” Dr Balaraman Kannan, Director General, NIWE, elaborated to WION. 

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Being built at a total cost of Rs 3500 million, bids for the two turbines (to be installed at the test facility) will be soon issued to original equipment manufacturers. The relevant agencies are considering turbines that can each generate anywhere between 8-12 MW. With a coastline that spans 7,500 km and immense energy requirements, India has great potential to develop offshore and near shore wind energy projects. 

Notably, the Government of India has made a commitment at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) to combat climate change and global warming, by setting itself a target of 500 GW of renewable energy by 2030. Of this 500 GW, wind alone comprises 140 GW. However, industry body Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association (IWTMA) feels that much more can be done to ramp up wind energy projects in India and to utilize the capacity and expertise of the Indian wind Power industry. 

According to Tulsi Tanti, Chairman, IWTMA, the wind energy capacity addition during 2022-23 is expected to be about 1,500-1,600 MW and the next year it will be about 2,000-2,500 MW. Last fiscal, the total wind power capacity that was added in the country was about 883 MW. However, the generation capacity addition is very low as compared to the industry’s turbine manufacturing capacity of 10,000 MW per annum. The industry body also said that India's wind energy sector has achieved 80 percent indigenisation, in line with the 'Atmanirbhar Bharat'(self-reliant India) initiative. They also added that Tamil Nadu(which is regarded as pioneer of Wind energy in India) has an offshore wind power generation potential of 35GW and that wind power installations can come up both nearshore and offshore. 

'Windergy India 2022’, a mega wind energy trade fair is to be held in Delhi between April 27 and 29 and is meant to enhance the wind energy eco-system by facilitating quicker migration to clean energy. The event will witness the participation of Government Officials from India, Denmark and industry representatives. 

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