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Energética India | September / October 2015

GLOBAL GREEN SUMMIT Offshore wind: Redefining the Renewable Paradigm The Indian government recently announced the new and much-needed offshore wind policy which has spread hopes across the green corridors that a renewable future is not just possible but inevitable. We have arrived a time in history when renewable energy has been accepted as a mainstream source of electricity and wind is playing a dominant role in it. India is already the world’s fifth largest wind energy producer and has immense potential to explore onshore and offshore wind energy. Wind Energy: Powering the Planet Wind is the most easily available, accessible and abundant form of energy in the world. It accounts for about 4% of the total worldwide energy capacities. United States and China have maximum installed wind capacities. The clean energy reform that started in Germany has spread far and wide across Europe and is likely to steadily grow. Wind energy capacity is doubling every three years worldwide since 2006. India is also moving up the chart each year with significant addition in its wind portfolio. Wind is expected to be a large contributor (about 60 GW) to India’s target of 175 GW capacities by 2022. Learning from International Experiences There is much India could learn from the European exploration of offshore wind energy. Germany, UK and Denmark have paved the way for the world towards a successful offshore wind infrastructure for long-term clean energy supply. While the world was still dreaming about renewable energy, Germany became one of the first countries in 2004 to experiment with offshore wind energy. Germany, which fares poorly on natural resources as compared to many countries including India, already has about 12 offshore wind farms and many more under construction starting 2 meters in sea up to 40 meters in deep sea. The wind speed German wind farms receive in the sea in almost double of what the onshore farms receive, making an obvious case for offshore wind energy in the long run. Many European nations since then have followed suit to explore offshore wind opportunities. How Offshore Wind will Help India has one of the world’s longest coastlines (over 7500 kilometers) and good wind velocities in many states for over 300 days a year and over 17 hours a day. This makes offshore wind capacities potential in India to the tune of 100 GW. Offshore wind has several advantages over onshore wind plants. Primarily, offshore wind eliminates the cost and challenges of land acquisition which is the most basic requirement in setting up wind farms. This also brings the cost of wind energy significantly down and minimizes procedures of clearances. Offshore wind has a unique advantage in terms of the Capacity Utilization Factor (CUF). At geographically appropriate sites, CUF for offshore wind can cross the 40% mark, way higher than onshore wind capacities. On the environmental front, offshore wind energy experience has shown that it causes no hazard to the marine animal and plant lives. Though the initial installation of setting the foundation into the ocean bed is challenging, once grounded well into the earth, it will stand tall and power the grids for decades incessantly. Where do the Opportunities Lie? Interestingly, two Indian states – Gujarat and Tamil Nadu–which have the longest coastlines also enjoy good wind velocities and are moving swiftly towards a future led by renewable energy. Particularly Tamil Nadu, whose southern coast is seeing erection of large wind farms already, is blessed with dual monsoon waves – southwest and northeast. Both these waves are swinging the wind turbines near TN’s seashore throughout the year to produce clean energy. If delved deeper into the sea, these waves can further accelerate the generation of wind energy and fill gaps in requirements of almost all of South India. Similar opportunities are immense in other coastal states too including Maharashtra, Karnataka, Orissa, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh. It is very encouraging to see Gujarat’s standalone policy on wind energy and its early experiments with offshore wind ahead of other states. Working Together While the private sector must break the conventional clutter and explore offshore wind opportunities, the government’s role will also be crucial in ensuring a swift yet smooth ride for wind turbines off the land. The government must encourage private sector through faster coastal and environmental clearances, incentives on offshore technology and exploring better zero – emission wind technologies from friendly nations for higher efficiency devices WIND ENERGY 72 energética INDIA · SEP | OCT15


Energética India | September / October 2015
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