NIWE, the government body responsible for measuring wind resource in India has announced a tender for the Supply and Installation of Integrated Floating Buoy for mounting LiDAR together with Oceanographic sensors. The LiDAR will be owned by NIWE and will be also the recipient of data under the contract with an NDA with the developer/contractor.
India has identified two zones for setting up offshore wind projects in India. The first location is Gulf of Khambat in Gujarat and second is Gulf of Munnar in Tamil Nadu. While in the GJ region, Zone B has been mapped with LiDAR since Nov. 2017, TN region only had a met mast near Zone C. Preliminary investigations showed higher wind speeds in TN and hence potentially lower cost of power. Hence, setting up a LiDAR to do a detailed analysis was essential. This LiDAR was planned to come in 2019. These were postponed due to COVID and again twice in March and Sep 2021. The bid is planned to be concluded in December and the LiDAR will come online in 120 days from the issue of purchase order (expected completion date around Jun 2022).
Interestingly, there has been a shift in the zones of focus of development activity. We expected the activity to be in zone A and zone C as per the location of met-mast and preliminary consensus made in various analysis done. However, after internal discussions within the government, the focus is now clearly on Zone B and following that in Zone E, Zone G, and Zone D. It is expected that nearly 5GW capacity can come in this area and can further be expanded to 10+GW. (See Map)
The setting up of LiDAR in TN will allow mapping of one of the most attractive site areas in India for offshore wind. If industrialisation of offshore wind has to take place, it will have to come from setting up commercially viable projects at scale in TN. To assess the risks involved, the setting up of LiDAR is essential and with this, we should see greater clarity on the viability of offshore wind projects in India.