The new offshore wind policy will be a boost for the Suzlon Group thanks to the off-shore wind capability it has got from its erstwhile group company, Senvion. When the Suzlon Group sold 100% stake in Senvion SE to Centerbridge Partners they also had, as part of the agreement, an arrangement where Senvion would give Suzlon license for off-shore technologies for the Indian market. Suzlon will be able to capitalize on this new opportunity in the Indian market. Suzlon could be the first private sector wind company to see its off-shore project take off as it is an advanced stage of studying the techno-commercial feasibility of the project and could be the first to announce the country’s maiden pilot offshore project soon.
Senvion SE, the subsidiary earlier owned by Suzlon, has a significant share in the offshore wind-energy segment. Senvion has already installed more than 130 turbines of its mutli-mega watt platform offshore. Offshore installation is far more complex and Senvion is among the players with far offshore competence, Suzlon had said while retaining this license for India.
Suzlon has been exploring the offshore segment for the last couple of years and started working on a techno-commercial feasibility study along the coastline in Gujarat last year. Suzlon group has access to the most matured off-shore wind energy technology and we are currently conducting a techno-commercial feasibility study in Gujarat, Tulsi Tanti, Chairman, Suzlon Group said.
Gujarat has a 1,600 km coastline and Suzlon has identified potential to generate 1,000 MW offshore wind energy in Kutch. Suzlon already has a massive onshore wind energy infrastructure here to complement the offshore component. With per MW cost of around Rs 12 crore, a 1,000 MW will need Rs 1,200 crore for taking off.
“With a coastline of 7600 kms, India has enormous offshore wind energy potential and cabinet approval is set in right direction to unlock this opportunity. Offshore wind energy implementation requires fair amount of approvals from various departments. I am confident, this announcement will simplify and create a single window system for relevant approvals from various central government departments and state maritime boards too,” Tanti said.
Calling the approval on the national offshore wind energy policy marks an epoch in India’s renewable energy history Tanti said, one of the key advantages of offshore wind energy is that large sized projects of 1,000 MW and above can be built with the capacity utilization factor ranging from 45%-50%, Suzlon said in a release. This also enables better utilization of transmission infrastructure and better dispatchability, with insignificant impact on land requirements, he said.
While off-shore wind energy is a more expensive alternative and onshore is more cost efficient, the size of projects that can be built offshore can be in the range of 1,000 MW to 2,000 MW which makes them more efficient with higher output capabiity. The plant load factor of offshore wind project is around 30% to 45% which is double the plant load factor of onshore projects. Offshore projects requires more capex with almost 2.5 times the investment but comparatively the energy production from offshore is also near double. There is also some scepticism about the potential of the wind quality in both the East and the West and whether it has similar conditions as in Europe where offshore wind has taken off thanks to calmer shallow seas and unobstructed winds.