India’s Parliamentary panel tasks MNRE to set up a pilot tidal power project

The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has been asked by a Parliamentary panel to set up a pilot tidal power project in the country, preferably at a cost-effective location like the Gulf of Kutch.

There are three main types of ocean energy – wave, tidal and ocean-thermal. The estimated potential of tidal and wave power in India is 12,455 megawatt (MW) and 41,300 MW, respectively while the potential for ocean-thermal has not been estimated to date, noted the parliamentary panel.

“Ministry should set up one demonstration/ pilot tidal power project in the country at the most favourable a cost-effective location like Gulf of Kutch considering that the capital cost of a tidal power project is site-specific,” Parliamentary Standing Committee on Energy said in a report tabled in Parliament.

MNRE has responded that the estimated potential of tidal and wave power is purely theoretical and does not necessarily constitute practically exploitable potential.

As a first step, the panel said there is a need to find out the actual exploitable potential of tidal, wave and ocean-thermal power in the country. The ministry should get the potential of tidal, wave and ocean-thermal power reassessed in order to explore the practically exploitable potential, it added.

Further, the committee noted that two tidal power projects of 3.75 MW and 50 MW installed capacities were initiated in 2007 and 2011 in the states of West Bengal and Gujarat, respectively. However, both these projects were dropped because of exorbitant costs.

In the case of the 3.75 MW Durgaduani Tidal Power Project in West Bengal, the project cost was estimated at Rs 238 crore i.e. Rs. 63.50 crore per MW and in the case of the 50 MW Tidal Power Project at the Gulf of Kutch in Gujarat, the projected cost was Rs 750 crore or Rs 15 crore per MW, as per the panel’s report.

The ministry has submitted to the panel that the standard cost of installation of a 1 MW solar, wind, biomass, hydro and thermal power plant is Rs. 3.5 crore, Rs 5.5 crore, Rs 6 crore, Rs 10-15 crore and Rs 5 crore, respectively.

France and South Korea today hold 90 per cent of the tidal power installed capacity in the world.

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