India Invites Bids for Four Gigawatts of Offshore Wind Capacity
India has opened the first round of auctions for its planned development of four gigawattts of offshore wind capacity. In a statement released on Friday, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) said that the bids invited are for four blocks of one gigawatt each on open-access basis.
The sites are located off the coast of Tamil Nadu. The developers who wins the bid for each block will sell electricity directly to consumers and industrial customers.
The bids have been invited through Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI), a government-owned energy company under MNRE. The last date of bid submission is May 2.
This bid announcement is a follow-up to another public notice issued back in September by MNRE, stating that the government intends to allocate seven areas off Tamil Nadu. The proposed zones cover an area of 550 square miles and have capacity for a total of seven gigawatts of wind power. With four blocks already advertised, the remaining three are planned to be put on offer in 2025.
According to World Bank estimates, India has 112 GW of bottom-fixed and 83 GW of floating offshore wind potential, with Tamil Nadu and Gujarat as the most suitable locations. The country has planned to auction 37 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2030. India, which is heavily dependent on coal for its power generation, has committed to reach net zero by 2070.
Meanwhile, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her budget speech on Thursday announced that the government would provide Viability Gap Funding (subsidization) for an initial one gigawatt of offshore wind energy development. Although the minister did not offer details on how this would be funded, some analysts interpreted the message as an important guarantee to galvanize the offshore wind market in India.