- Renewable energy is expected to play an increasingly important role in the energy mix of India. The Minister of State for Ports, Shipping & Waterways (I/C) is committed to promoting the use of green energy at the Major Ports and is providing incentives for the same. An increase in the use of renewable energy will not only be beneficial for the environment but also contribute towards economic development of the country by reducing our dependence on imported crude oil, gas and coal.
- India, as of 2020, is one of the lowest-cost producers for solar PV worldwide with cost of generation being less than INR 3/ unit for utility scale PV. Thus, Solar power today is cheaper than coal generated power (INR 3.5 per unit) and cost is expected to further fall as low as INR 1.9 /unit by 2030. Solar will continue to be a big part of the energy ecosystem for ports, with falling prices and ease of construction being a big factor in its continued deployment. Major Ports in India currently have approximately 118 MW generation capacity through Solar PV, with both Rooftop PV and Floating PV gaining commercial acceptance at ports. Cochin port trust, for example, has commissioned 250 MW of rooftop and floating PV mode.
- Wind power is also evolving rapidly in India and can be installed at the breakwater and along the periphery of the port premises for energy generation. With national targets determined by the Ministry of Renewable Energy (5,000 megawatts of offshore wind by 2022, and 30,000 megawatts by 2030), ports would be optimum location for this endeavour. Three Major Ports – Deendayal, VO Chidambaranar Port and Kamarajar Ports – have recently signed deals for wind energy4. However, there is further potential to install wind farms in fallow land near / in port area, shallow waters and along breakwaters.
Advanced Energy Solutions: While advanced energy solutions such as wave, tidal, hydrogen etc. are presently expensive, these are expected to become competitive in future with the advancement of technology.
- Tidal Energy: According to the study done by Ministry of Non-Conventional Energy Sources, India has a potential of 8,000 – 12,000 MW of tidal energy.
- Solar Energy: Solar Thermal Power systems, also known as Concentrating Solar Power systems, use concentrated solar radiation as a high temperature energy source to produce electricity using thermal route. These technologies are appropriate for applications where direct solar radiation is high. There are several Solar Thermal power plants in operations globally.
- Wave Energy: Ocean Waves are converted to electricity with Wave Energy Converter (WEC) devices. Five converter technologies have been researched till date, while the oscillating water column converter (OWC) has been found to be more dominant due to its simplicity and adaptability to use the existing coastal structure of sea harbours. This technology has been tried at Vizhinjam along Kerala coast by National Institute of Ocean Technology, Chennai.