Power giants to scope offshore wind projects in India’s untapped market

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This image shows onshore wind turbines in Gujarat, India.
Shiv Mer | Istock | Getty Images

German energy giant RWE and India’s Tata Power on Monday announced a collaboration that will focus on developing offshore wind projects in India.

The firms said a memorandum of understanding relating to the plans had been signed by RWE Renewables GmbH and Tata Power Renewable Energy Limited.

“India has excellent wind resources, which can help to meet the country’s increasing energy demands,” Sven Utermöhlen, RWE Renewables’ CEO for offshore wind, said in a statement.

“If clear regulations and an effective tender scheme are in place, we expect India’s offshore wind industry will gain a real momentum,” he said.

According to India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, the country is home to roughly 7,600 kilometers of coastline. While India has a well-developed onshore wind sector, there are no operational offshore wind farms in its waters. Authorities there have said they want 30 gigawatts of offshore wind installations by the year 2030.

“The Indian Government is in the process of conducting detailed technical studies and devising the regulatory framework to establish the first auctions for offshore wind of the coast of Tamil Nadu and Gujarat,” RWE and Tata Power said.

The firms added they would undertake technical and commercial site assessments in order to “facilitate the establishment of an offshore wind market.”

They will also look to evaluate India’s supply chain for offshore wind and crucial infrastructure including ports and grid connections.

India’s MNRE says it wants the installed capacity of “non-fossil fuels” to hit 500 GW by 2030. Despite this lofty target, the country remains reliant on fossil fuels. As of Dec. 31, fossil fuels’ share of India’s total installed generation capacity stood at 59.8%, according to the Ministry of Power.

At last year’s COP26 climate change summit, India and China, both among the world’s biggest burners of coal, insisted on a last-minute change of fossil fuel language in the Glasgow Climate Pact — from a “phase out” of coal to a “phase down.” After initial objections, opposing countries ultimately conceded.

In a speech delivered to The Energy and Resources Institute’s World Sustainable Development Summit last week, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he firmly believed that “environmental sustainability can only be achieved through climate justice.”

“Energy requirements of the people of India are expected to nearly double in the next twenty years,” Modi said. “Denying this energy would be denying life itself to millions. Successful climate actions also need adequate financing.”

He added: “For this, developed countries need to fulfil their commitments on finance and technology transfer.”