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India Joins Push for Offshore Wind by Enlisting ONGC

Feb. 17 (Bloomberg) -- The Indian government may enlist the help of Oil & Natural Gas Corp., the state-run explorer, in surveying offshore wind-power potential and setting up the nation’s first two wind farms at sea.

“We’re thinking of two pilot projects in Tamil Nadu and Gujarat states,” Deepak Gupta, secretary of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, said yesterday in an interview on the sidelines of a wind conference in New Delhi.

The projects would be India’s first attempt to exploit offshore wind, a market that has doubled in size in just two years. The construction of wind farms off the coast is driving growth in an industry still recovering from the global recession.

The survey is important as India doesn’t have good data on offshore wind speeds and their variability, which developers need before they make investments, said Ashish Sethia, lead analyst with Bloomberg New Energy Finance in New Delhi. “The survey will help in getting reliable data to reduce their risk.”

Vestas Wind Systems A/S, the world’s biggest wind-turbine maker, is vying with companies that include Germany’s Siemens AG, Gamesa Corporacion Tecnologica SA of Spain and REpower Systems AG, a unit of India’s Suzlon Energy Ltd., for offshore sales.

ONGC, India’s biggest energy explorer, may be able to help because of its offshore expertise with oil fields, Gupta said, declining to elaborate.

The ministry aims to complete its plans for the survey and projects in the next three months, he said.

More Expensive

BNEF estimates offshore wind’s cost of generation plus a 10 equity return at between $128 per megawatt-hour and $263 per megawatt-hour. This compares with $60 per megawatt-hour to $100 per megawatt-hour for onshore wind and $55 per megawatt-hour for conventional power in India.

Suzlon, India’s biggest wind-turbine maker, has preliminary estimates showing the South Asian nation may have the potential to produce 25,000 megawatts of power from wind farms at sea, especially in areas off Tamil Nadu and Gujarat states, Chairman Tulsi Tanti said in an interview in November. That would be almost double India’s current installed wind capacity of 13,065 megawatts, according to ministry statistics as of Dec. 31.

While India has a coastline stretching more than 7,500 kilometers (4,660 miles), research hasn’t shown locations with sufficient wind for offshore turbines, according to the World Energy Council.

To contact the reporter on this story: Natalie Obiko Pearson in New Delhi at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at

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