The Centre has decided to set up 4GW of offshore wind power in Tamil Nadu. A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting convened by the Union Power Minister R K Singh in New Delhi on Thursday (June 9).
“The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy through its implementing agency will issue the first bid in the next three–four months for leasing out offshore wind energy blocks equivalent to 4GW capacity off the coast of Tamil Nadu,” said a release from the ministry.
Sources in the National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) said it has been decided to set up the 4GW of offshore wind power capacity, which will be the first such project in the Asia-Pacific region.
Already, the Centre has decided to set up a wind power testing facility at Dhanushkodi. The 4GW offshore capacity will be set up at the same place.
Transmission and evacuation infrastructure required for offshore wind projects of total capacity 10 GW off the coasts of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu was also discussed in the meeting.
The project will be allocated to the bidder offering the highest lease fee per sq km of sea bed area.
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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.
Apart from minister R K Singh, Union power ministry secretary Alok Kumar and Indu Shekhar Chaturvedi, secretary, Ministry of New & Renewable Energy were present in the meeting.
“The mast in offshore wind will have to be at least 100 meter high, while another 50 meters will be under the sea. For this we need to have a pile foundation which will contribute more than 70% to the total cost,” a NIWE official said.
“Offshore wind power generation will be round-the-clock and we will be able to get wind power and also throughout the year. Along with nuclear power generation our dependence on coal will decline,” said the official.
Tamil Nadu is the wind power capital of the country, but the onshore wind power is seasonal and it is available only between May 15 and September 15. But offshore will be available round-the-clock and throughout the year.
Dhanushkodi, which was completely destroyed in the 1964 cyclone, is slowly coming back to life with a proper road being laid between Rameswaram and the town and a few fishermen families settling in the town. Tourism is also picking up in the region.