Published On:June 3 2023
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Stumbling blocks delay India’s first offshore wind tender.

India’s first-ever tender for offshore wind projects, which should have come now, is stuck on two counts-one, who will put up the transmission line from the offshore site to the landing point onshore and two, time given to the project developers to implement the project, industry sources told businessline here today. 

In March, it was said by an official of the National Institute of Wind Energy that the country’s first tender for seabed leasing for offshore wind projects would be out by the end of the month. There is still no sign of the much-awaited tender.

The tender will  be for four blocks of seabed in the Gulf of Mannar, off the coast of southern Tamil Nadu, each of which can accommodate 1 GW of wind power plants. The tender is under the ‘model-III’ scheme of the ministry’s guidelines for offshore wind development. Under this scheme, an energy company that has won a seabed lease through a bidding process would study the seabed, put up a wind farm, and sell the electricity directly to customers (open access route).

Bidders would be given marks for their technical capabilities (70 per cent) and the lease rent they offer for the seabed (30 per cent); the highest four bidders will get a consent letter from NIWE for conducting the survey.

Then, with the consent letter, they go to the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), to sign the ‘Agreement to Lease’, then ‘Survey Lease Deed Agreement’ and then the ‘Construction and Operation Lease Deed Agreement’. Once these agreements are in place, the winning bidders return to NIWE to get the ‘Concessionaire Agreement’.

According to the proposed tender documents, the time given to bidders for even coming up with a detailed project report (DPR) is three years, extendable by two years. But the industry feels more is needed.

As for the cable between the offshore site and the onshore landing point, which in the case of Tamil Nadu, is about 35 km, it was initially thought that the government of India-owned, Power Grid Corporation of India would do it. However, there have been some objections to PGCIL doing it.

On both counts, the Minister for Power and New and Renewable Energy, R K Singh, must take a decision. Only after these two issues are resolved would the tender be floated, sources said, at a meeting on offshore wind energy, organized here jointly by MNRE and the Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association. 

Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu, after negotiations with Government of India, has offered to buy “as much power as possible” from the proposed offshore wind farm off Tamil Nadu coast, for ₹4 a kWhr. 

The first tender would be under ‘model-III’, or ‘open access’ route, where energy companies sell power directly to customers for negotiated tariffs. However, also on the ministry’s anvil is another scheme (model-II) under which the developer would get a competitively won viability gap funding per MW of capacity, but the power would be sold only below a certain tariff. 

S Krishnan, Additional Chief Secretary, Tamil Nadu government, told journalists here today that the State government had suggested to MNRE that both model-II and model-III be put out concurrently. The State government would pay ₹4 per kWhr to the developer. 

Initially, the State government had said it would pay ₹3 a kWhr, but after negotiating with the ministry, the government agreed for ₹4 a kWhr, Krishnan said.


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