Can India achieve 30 GW offshore wind capacity target by 2030?

Offshore wind technology utilizes turbines installed at sea and offers a reliable and clean renewable energy source with higher efficiency due to consistent, unobstructed winds. Offshore wind technology offers a significantly higher (~10-15%) capacity utilization factor (CUF) vis-à-vis onshore wind.

Although the global offshore wind market size is close to 75 GW, India doesn’t have any installed offshore wind capacity. However, India’s target of 500 GW renewables by 2030 includes approximately 100 GW from wind, out of which 30 GW will come from offshore wind. MNRE has estimated the offshore wind potential in India around 70 GW, split between Gujarat (36 GW) and Tamil Nadu (35 GW).

Fig 1: India’s RE target by 2030, technology wise share (GW)

Source: CEA1

To achieve the target of 30 GW offshore wind by 2030, the Government of India had instituted policy frameworks and initiatives aimed for the development of offshore wind energy.

Policy Frameworks

The National Offshore Wind Energy Policy (2015): Under the national offshore wind energy policy issued in October 2015, MNRE designated National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) as the nodal agency for offshore wind development. NIWE was tasked with preliminary studies to identify 8 potential offshore wind energy zones each off the coasts of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.

Subsequently, these studies facilitated MNRE to issue “Strategy for Establishment of Offshore Wind Energy Projects” in September 2023, which included the proposal of three development models to expedite the project development. Additionally, MNRE specified the auction trajectory until 2030 for these three development models, including 37 GW offshore wind auctions to be completed by 2030.

Table 2:  Different development models for offshore wind energy

Type of ModelDescriptionAuction target (in GW) by 2030
Model-AIt targets demarcated offshore wind zones in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, offering Viability Gap Funding (VGF) to achieve predetermined power tariffs through MNRE-issued bids.1
Model-BIt allocates NIWE-identified offshore wind sites through bidding, allowing developers exclusive seabed rights during study/survey periods for self-financed project development, with power distribution options and potential DISCOM power procurement bids after 2 years.14
Model-CIt allows developers to identify offshore wind sites within the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), excluding those under Models A and B, conduct studies/surveys, and then participate in government bids for project development/seabed allocation.22

Source: MNRE2

The first offshore wind tender in India was issued on 2nd February 2024 by SECI for a capacity of 4 GW. The project off the Tamil Nadu coast will be set up under Model B. The auction for this is likely to be concluded by July 2024.

Offshore Wind Energy Lease Rules (2023): In December 2023, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) of India introduced the Offshore Wind Energy Lease Rules, 2023. These rules outline the terms for leasing seabed areas for offshore wind projects. The lease area ranges from 25 to 500 square kilometers, contingent on the project’s scale. Initially valid for 3 years, leases allow for resource measurement, studies, and surveys, extendable by 2 years. After this initial 5-year period, the lease expires, requiring the lessee to deposit study or survey data with the National Institute of Wind Energy. Subsequently, the lease is extended for 35 years to facilitate construction and operation, with potential extensions based on safety and functional viability assessments. Notably, any assignment or transfer of the lease necessitates prior written permission from the MNRE.

Challenges and Possible Solutions

India is still in the early stages of developing offshore wind energy and faces numerous challenges that need to be addressed.

ChallengesPossible Solutions
Prohibitive project capex

Generally, offshore wind energy projects incur 78% more capex than onshore wind
Similar to Netherlands and Denmark, The Government of India should focus more on Model-A, instead of pursuing Model-B. In Denmark, offshore wind farm subsidies operate through a Contract for Difference (CfD) model, offering a fixed price per kWh for a set number of full-load-hours over approximately 11-12 years
Lack of demonstration Projects
Lack of demonstration projects in offshore wind can lead to slower technology adoption and higher risks.Prioritizing investment in demonstration projects, like China’s 102 MW Shanghai Donghai Bridge Offshore farm and Denmark’s 10 MW initiatives, is crucial for technology adoption, building industry confidence, and mitigating costs.
Higher LCOE
Higher LCOE in offshore wind increases electricity costs and reduces competitivenessAchieving the target LCOE of 3.5 INR/kWh by 2025 from the current 7 INR/kWh requires significant funding. Estimated subsidies range from 117-127.8 billion INR for Tamil Nadu Zone B and 160-175 billion INR in Net Present Value (NPV).
Lack of implementation support
Lack of single window clearance can lead to delays and increased project costs in offshore wind development.A single-window clearance mechanism through NIWE could expedite offshore wind energy development in India, addressing delays and simplifying the approval process.

Despite the challenges, positive signs such as the auction trajectory outlined by MNRE for offshore wind under the various models of development can provide the much-needed impetus to kickstart project development. Successful auctioning and execution of India’s first GW scale offshore wind tender of 4 GW will also go a long way to instill market stakeholder’s confidence in this emerging technology.

1 Source: CEA Report

2 Source: MNRE’s Offshore wind strategy report