The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) plans to invite bids for allocating seabed areas off the Tamil Nadu coast for Offshore Wind Energy projects, beginning on February 1, 2024. A public notice released by the MNRE outlines the bidding process. The ministry intends to conduct these bids through its nodal agency, the National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE). The projects aim to sell power under Open Access Mode, Third Party Sale, sale through Power Exchanges, or for captive consumption.
These offshore wind energy projects will be offered in two tranches. The first tranche will comprise four sites in Zone B, covering 828 square kilometers off the Tamil Nadu coast, with bids opening on February 1, 2024. The second tranche, including three sites in Zones E and G covering 615 square kilometers along the Tamil Nadu coast, will be open for bids during FY 2024-25, although the exact date is not specified.
The MNRE envisions developing offshore wind energy projects with a capacity of 7.2 GW across seven sites in Zone B, E, and G. These sites cover a seabed area of 1,443 square kilometers. NIWE will facilitate the necessary clearances as per the National Offshore Wind Energy Policy-2015 from various Central and State Ministries/Departments.
The grid evacuation infrastructure, including the offshore substation, will be provided as part of the Inter-State Transmission System (ISTS) network by either the Central Transmission Utility (CTU) or Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL).
The seabed will be leased for five years, and lease rentals will be quoted in the financial bid. The seabed leasing period can be extended by one year on a case-by-case basis. Developers must commission the offshore wind energy project, including conducting required studies and surveys, within this timeframe.
The MNRE allows developers to exit the project during the initial five-year lease period, subject to certain conditions. After project commissioning, the seabed lease will continue for the operational life of the project and the decommissioning period.
Additionally, the government is proposing carbon credits and Renewable Energy (RE) credits for offshore wind projects commissioned by December 31, 2032. There are waivers on Inter-State Transmission System (ISTS) charges and additional surcharges for power from offshore wind projects commissioned by this date. Concessional Custom Duty is also proposed for the import of critical components for offshore wind turbine manufacturing.
Developers interested in participating in these bids are encouraged to conduct their own required studies and surveys on these sites after informing NIWE.