India’s largest port (by volume handled) could soon be powered by renewable energy, the Minister for Shipping and Transport Nitin Gadkari recently stated.

Government officials are assessing the possibility of setting up a solar-wind energy park to power the seaport of Kandla, located in the west Indian state of Gujarat. In addition to meeting its own power demand the port may also be able to sell renewable energy to other buyers.

Minister Gadkari stated that the solar-wind energy park could be commissioned over an area of 150,000 acres with the total installed capacity of around 200 megawatts; Gadkari did not share the likely split between solar and wind energy at the park.

Gadkari noted that the solar power tariffs have crashed in India over the last few months and the port could use the surplus land to develop large-scale renewable energy projects.

Since February this year four major solar power auctions have taken place in India with the lowest tariff bids falling by as much as 26% between the first and the latest auction. The race to lower tariff bids has been fuelled primarily by the crash in solar module prices, regulatory support from the government and, perhaps, the promise and hope of cheap debt finance.

Interestingly, this proposed renewable energy park will have a capacity greater than the entire planned capacity addition at all seaports in India.

The Ministry of Shipping had announced that under the ‘Green Port Initiative’ a total of 136.5 megawatts of renewable energy projects will be implemented at a dozen major ports in the country. These include 91.5 megawatts solar power and 45 megawatts wind energy projects.

The Indian government is pushing for public sector companies and institutions to set up renewable energy projects. Any public sector company with surplus land is being asked to set up large-scale solar and wind energy projects. Meanwhile, the Ministry for Civil Aviation has announced that 143 airports in the country will set up a cumulative of 148 megawatts solar power capacity.



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