Centre to invite bids for offshore wind power project off TN coast soon
The Centre will soon float tenders for offshore wind projects along the coast of Dhanushkodi in Tamil Nadu.
The ministry of new & renewable energy, through its implementing agency, will issue the first bid soon for leasing out offshore wind energy blocks equivalent to 4 GW capacity off the coast of Tamil Nadu, said a senior Tangedco official.
First in Asia-Pacific
Sources in the National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) said the decision to set up 4 GW of offshore wind power capacity will be the first such project in the Asia-Pacific region.
Tamil Nadu will get offshore wind between June 15 to January 15 and that too round the clock without any break in between, says a study done for Tangedco.
“On behalf of Tangedco we conducted a study in and around Dhanushkodi and Palk Strait areas. The study says that Tamil Nadu will get offshore wind between June and January and unlike UK or other Europe countries, the offshore wind power will be continuous between June 15 and January 15,” said a senior Tangedco official, who accompanied a team to Scotland a few months back.
In European countries, the offshore wind power is almost continuous but at times they have to depend on other power sources as the wind suddenly stops. “Even during the onshore wind power season in Tamil Nadu, we have our thermal units on standby as suddenly wind power generation comes down. But with offshore wind power, we are confident of not using any thermal unit for power source,” said the official.
India’s wind tunnel
Palk Strait is more or less a wind tunnel. “It is only through the Palk Strait that wind is passing through between June and January thus the Strait acts as a wind tunnel,” said the official.
Unlike onshore wind power mills where the capacity is less than 1 MW, offshore wind power mills will have a minimum capacity of 13 MW. “Dhanushkodi is the best offshore for evacuating wind power and the wind power projects will have a bigger capacity unlike onshore wind power mills. The offshore wind mills will be set up up to 30 km inside the sea,” said the official.
“Offshore wind power projects will not use any concrete to set up the windmill. Instead, the projects will use a kind of steel which will not corrode. Thus, there will be no danger to any marine animals,” said the official.
The bidder offering the highest lease fee per sq km of sea bed area would be allocated the project.
Evacuation and transmission of power from offshore pooling substation (PSS) to onshore transmission will be provided free of cost for all offshore wind capacities that will be bid out up to 2029-30.
“The mast in offshore wind will have to be at least 100-metre tall and another 50 metres under the sea. For this we need to have a pile foundation and it will cost more than 70 per cent of the total cost,” a NIWE official said.
Tamil Nadu is the wind power hub of the country but the onshore wind power is seasonal and is available only between May 15 and September 15.
Dhanushkodi, which was completely destroyed in the 1964 cyclone, is slowly coming back to life with a proper road being laid between Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi and a few fishermen families settling in the town. Tourism has also picked up in recent times.