The draft policy was written with input from a steering committee on offshore wind energy. According to the draft, onshore wind energy has reached a stage of deployment that makes it competitive with traditional fossil fuel power generation.
This level of cost competitiveness is thanks to supportive public policy that has, so far, not been extended to include offshore wind energy, according to the draft.
About 5 GW of offshore wind generation capacity is installed worldwide, with an equal amount in development or under construction. Top countries in the offshore wind market include the U.K., Belgium, The Netherlands, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden and Germany. The E.U. set a goal of 40 GW in offshore wind capacity by 2020 and 150 GW by 2030.
In India, the top areas in offshore wind potential are the coastlines of Karnataka, Kerala and Goa. Wind resource data gathered from the coastlines of Rameshwaram and Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat also show a potential of about 1 GW.
Obstacles to offshore wind deployment include resource identification, power grid interconnection and operation, and the development of adequate transmission infrastructure, according to the draft.
The role of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy in the deployment of offshore wind will include monitoring offshore wind development in the country, coordination with other ministries and departments, issuing guidelines and directives for development of offshore wind energy, overseeing the working of National Offshore Wind Energy Authority and extending necessary support and promoting indigenous research for technology development.
The National Offshore Wind Energy Authority will conduct resource assessment and surveys and enter into contract with project developers for development of offshore wind energy projects in territorial waters within 12 nautical miles of the shoreline.
Preliminary resource assessments, environmental impact statements and oceanography surveys will be conducted through specialist agencies for demarcation of offshore wind energy blocks. Private firms with experience in surveys will also be allowed to collect data without any charges for their work, according to the draft.
The draft National Offshore Wind Energy Policy provides for certain fiscal incentives such as tax holiday for first ten years of offshore wind power generation, concession in customs duty and exemption in excise duty for procurement of technology and equipment. Services such as resource assessment, environmental impact statement and oceanographic study by third party and use of survey vessels and installation vessels may also be eligible for exemption from service tax.