Wave power in India

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India has a long coastline of 7517 km [1] marked along by numerous estuaries and gulfs which makes it attractive for the development of marine energy projects. India's wave power potential is around 40-60GW. [2] However, compared to the developments in other renewable energy technologies, ocean energy technologies like wave and tidal are in their nascent stages of development in India. [3]

Marine energy or marine power refers to the energy carried by ocean waves, tides, salinity, and ocean temperature differences. The movement of water in the world’s oceans creates a vast store of kinetic energy, or energy in motion. Some of this energy can be harnessed to generate electricity to power homes, transport and industries.

Wave power Transport of energy by wind waves, and the capture of that energy to do useful work

Wave power is the capture of energy of wind waves to do useful work – for example, electricity generation, water desalination, or pumping water. A machine that exploits wave power is a wave energy converter (WEC).

Renewable energy energy that is collected from renewable resources

Renewable energy is energy that is collected from renewable resources, which are naturally replenished on a human timescale, such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, waves, and geothermal heat. Renewable energy often provides energy in four important areas: electricity generation, air and water heating/cooling, transportation, and rural (off-grid) energy services.



Wave power depends upon the height of the wave and its period. Primary estimates of wave energy potential along Indian coast is around 5-15 MW/m, so the theoretical estimated potential comes out to be around 40-60 GW. [2] A study by IIT Madras and Credit Rating Information Services of Indian Ltd (CRISIL) have shown that western coast has higher wind power potential compared to eastern coast. [3] They have identified potential locations for wave power development along the west coast of India in Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Kerala. Kanyakumari located at the southern tip of Indian peninsula has the highest power owing to the effects of refraction and strong winds. [3] With currently available technologies, amount of power that can be generated using wave energy is much less than the theoretical estimated potential.

Chennai Megacity in Tamil Nadu, India

Chennai is the capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Located on the Coromandel Coast off the Bay of Bengal, it is the biggest cultural, economic and educational centre of south India. According to the 2011 Indian census, it is the sixth most populous city and fourth-most populous urban agglomeration in India. The city together with the adjoining regions constitute the Chennai Metropolitan Area, which is the 36th-largest urban area by population in the world. Chennai is among the most visited Indian cities by foreign tourists. It was ranked the 43rd most visited city in the world for the year 2015. The Quality of Living Survey rated Chennai as the safest city in India. Chennai attracts 45 percent of health tourists visiting India, and 30 to 40 percent of domestic health tourists. As such, it is termed "India's health capital". As a growing metropolitan city in a developing country, Chennai confronts substantial pollution and other logistical and socio-economic problems.


CRISIL is a global analytical company providing ratings, research, and risk and policy advisory services. CRISIL’s majority shareholder is Standard & Poor's, a division of McGraw Hill Financial and provider of financial market intelligence.

Maharashtra State in western India

Maharashtra is a state in the western peninsular region of India occupying a substantial portion of the Deccan plateau. It is the second-most populous state and third-largest state by area in India. Spread over 307,713 km2 (118,809 sq mi), it is bordered by the Arabian Sea to the west, the Indian states of Karnataka and Goa to the south, Telangana and Chhattisgarh to the east, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh to the north, and the Indian union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli to the north west. It is also the world's second-most populous subnational entity. It was formed by merging the western and south-western parts of the Bombay State, Berar and Vidarbha, and the north-western parts of the Hyderabad State and splitting Saurashtra by the States Reorganisation Act. It has over 112 million inhabitants and its capital, Mumbai, has a population around 18 million making it the most populous urban area in India. Nagpur hosts the winter session of the state legislature. Pune is known as 'Oxford of the East' due to the presence of several well-known educational institutions.

Capacity Utilization factor for wave energy in India is in the range of 15-20%.

Capacity factor unitless ratio of an actual electrical energy output over a given period of time to the maximum possible electrical energy output over the same amount of time

The net capacity factor is the unitless ratio of an actual electrical energy output over a given period of time to the maximum possible electrical energy output over that period. The capacity factor is defined for any electricity producing installation, such as a fuel consuming power plant or one using renewable energy, such as wind or the sun. The average capacity factor can also be defined for any class of such installations, and can be used to compare different types of electricity production.

Vizhinjam wave energy plant

Wave energy research in India was initiated in 1983 when the Department of Ocean Development of Government of India provided funds to Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, for carrying out the research.{{sfn| [4] This led to the establishment of a 150 kW Pilot wave energy plant in 1991 at Vizhinjam in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

Vizhinjam Suburb in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, India

Vizhinjam is an area and natural port located close to international shipping routes in Thiruvananthapuram in the Indian state of Kerala. Kovalam beach lies 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) from Vizhinjam while the area is known for its Ayurvedic treatment centers and internationally acclaimed beach resorts. As of 2001, the population was 18,566.

Thiruvananthapuram Metropolis in Kerala, India

Thiruvananthapuram, commonly known by its former name Trivandrum, is the capital of the Indian state of Kerala. It is the most populous city in Kerala with a population of 957,730 as of 2011. The encompassing urban agglomeration population is around 1.68 million. Located on the west coast of India near the extreme south of the mainland, Thiruvananthapuram is a major Information Technology hub in Kerala and contributes 55% of the state's software exports as of 2016. Referred to by Mahatma Gandhi as the "Evergreen city of India", the city is characterised by its undulating terrain of low coastal hills.

Vizhinjam wave energy plant was the world’s first wave power plant working on Oscillating Water Column (OWC) technology. [3] This technology utilizes the change in levels of water inside caisson as waves approach. As the water level increases in the caisson, the air inside is compressed, which is then used to drive an air turbine. [3] The power generated from this plant, however, varied a lot throughout the year and maximum power was generated only during the monsoon months. [3] After a long duration of being out of use, it was planned to be utilized for powering a Reverse Osmosis Desalination plant in 2004. [3] [5] This project also was not successful and the wave energy plant was finally decommissioned in 2011. [3] [5]

Caisson (engineering) Rigid structure to provide workers with a dry working environment below water level

In geotechnical engineering, a caisson is a watertight retaining structure used, for example, to work on the foundations of a bridge pier, for the construction of a concrete dam, or for the repair of ships. Caissons are constructed in such a way that the water can be pumped out, keeping the work environment dry. When piers are being built using an open caisson, and it is not practical to reach suitable soil, friction pilings may be driven to form a suitable sub-foundation. These piles are connected by a foundation pad upon which the column pier is erected.

Turbine rotary mechanical device that extracts energy from a fluid flow

A turbine is a rotary mechanical device that extracts energy from a fluid flow and converts it into useful work. The work produced by a turbine can be used for generating electrical power when combined with a generator. A turbine is a turbomachine with at least one moving part called a rotor assembly, which is a shaft or drum with blades attached. Moving fluid acts on the blades so that they move and impart rotational energy to the rotor. Early turbine examples are windmills and waterwheels.

Vizhinjam Wave Power Plant in the backdrop VIZHINJAM FISHING HARBOUR.jpg
Vizhinjam Wave Power Plant in the backdrop


Wave energy is amongst the most capital intensive form of renewable energy. Current cost of wave energy varies between 34 and 63 €c/kWh. [3] According to a study by IIT Madras and CRISIL, wave energy technologies would require about 10 GW of cumulative capacity to become cost competitive. [3]


Wave energy is a clean and renewable source of energy. Since waves are present always, wave power is more consistent in electricity generation when compared to renewable energy sources like wind and solar. They can be a good source of energy generation for off grid coastal areas and islands. Wave energy often used to power the desalination plants. Wave energy turbines when combined with offshore breakwaters can help achieve the protection of sea shores. [3]


There are several challenges that need to be addressed to make electricity generation from wave energy commercially viable. Technological challenges include low turbine efficiencies, high turbine costs, unavailability of grid connections at potential sites, lack of experience and unpredictable environmental conditions. [3] Owing to inadequate data, it is challenging to estimate the impact of wave power generation on marine ecosystem. [3] Moreover, investment in wave power is perceived as risky investment by financial institutions because of high capital cost and lack of operational experience. [3]

Administration and policy

The Ministry of Earth Sciences in Government of India oversees the development of wave energy in India with National Institute of Ocean Technology, Chennai being a participating institution. [6] The ministry envisions development of wave energy to power Low Temperature Thermal Desalination (LTTD) plants and to meet the lighting requirements of small islands. [7]

India government has set a target of achieving 40% cumulative electrical power capacity from non fossil fuel resources by 2030. It plans to enhance the renewable power installed capacity to 175 GW by the end of 2022 which includes 60 GW from wind power, 100 GW from solar power, 10 GW from biomass power and 5 GW from small hydro power. [5] There is however no specific target for wave power capacity enhancement.

Related Research Articles

Wind power the conversion of wind energy into a useful form

Wind power is the use of air flow through wind turbines to provide the mechanical power to turn electric generators and traditionally to do other work, like milling or pumping. Wind power, as an alternative to burning fossil fuels, is plentiful, renewable, widely distributed, clean, produces no greenhouse gas emissions during operation, consumes no water, and uses little land. The net effects on the environment are far less problematic than those of fossil fuel sources.

Tidal power Technology to convert the energy from tides into useful forms of power

Tidal power or tidal energy is a form of hydropower that converts the energy obtained from tides into useful forms of power, mainly electricity.

Renewable energy in Scotland

The production of renewable energy in Scotland is an issue that has come to the fore in technical, economic, and political terms during the opening years of the 21st century. The natural resource base for renewable energy is extraordinary by European, and even global standards, with the most important potential sources being wind, wave, and tide.

Wave farm The installment of one or several wave power devices in one place

A wave farm – or wave power farm or wave energy park – is a collection of machines in the same location and used for the generation of wave power electricity. Wave farms can be either offshore or nearshore, with the former the most promising for the production of large quantities of electricity for the grid. The first wave farm was constructed in Portugal, the Aguçadoura Wave Farm, consisting of three Pelamis machines. The world's largest is planned for Scotland.

Wind power in Germany

Wind power in Germany is a growing industry. The installed capacity was 55.6 gigawatt (GW) at the end of 2017, with 5.2 GW from offshore installations. The wind power share of the country's total electricity generation was estimated at 9.3% in 2010, 10.6% in 2011, 13.3% in 2015, and 18.7% in 2017.

Renewable energy commercialization

Renewable energy commercialization involves the deployment of three generations of renewable energy technologies dating back more than 100 years. First-generation technologies, which are already mature and economically competitive, include biomass, hydroelectricity, geothermal power and heat. Second-generation technologies are market-ready and are being deployed at the present time; they include solar heating, photovoltaics, wind power, solar thermal power stations, and modern forms of bioenergy. Third-generation technologies require continued R&D efforts in order to make large contributions on a global scale and include advanced biomass gasification, hot-dry-rock geothermal power, and ocean energy. As of 2012, renewable energy accounts for about half of new nameplate electrical capacity installed and costs are continuing to fall.

Wind power in the United States

Wind power in the United States is a branch of the energy industry that has expanded quickly over the latest several years. For the twelve months through November 2017, 254.2 terawatt-hours were generated by wind power, or 6.33% of all generated electrical energy.

Wind power in India

Wind power generation capacity in India has significantly increased in recent years. As of 31 December 2018 the total installed wind power capacity was 35.288 GW, the fourth largest installed wind power capacity in the world. Wind power capacity is mainly spread across the South, West and North regions.

Renewable energy in the United Kingdom

Renewable energy in the United Kingdom can be divided into production for electricity, heat, and transport.


CETO is a wave-energy technology that converts kinetic energy from ocean swell into electrical power and directly desalinates freshwater through reverse osmosis. The technology was developed and tested onshore and offshore in Fremantle, Western Australia. In early 2015 a CETO 5 production installation was commissioned and connected to the grid. As of January 2016 all the electricity generated is being purchased to contribute towards the power requirements of HMAS Stirling naval base at Garden Island, Western Australia. Some of the energy will also be used directly to desalinate water.

Wind power in China

China is the world leader in wind power generation, with the largest installed capacity of any nation and continued rapid growth in new wind facilities. With its large land mass and long coastline, China has exceptional wind power resources: it is estimated China has about 2,380 gigawatts (GW) of exploitable capacity on land and 200 GW on the sea.

Offshore wind power use of wind turbines constructed in marine bodies of water to harvest wind energy to generate electricity

Offshore wind power or offshore wind energy is the use of wind farms constructed in bodies of water, usually in the ocean on the continental shelf, to harvest wind energy to generate electricity. Higher wind speeds are available offshore compared to on land, so offshore wind power’s electricity generation is higher per amount of capacity installed, and NIMBY opposition to construction is usually much weaker. Unlike the typical use of the term "offshore" in the marine industry, offshore wind power includes inshore water areas such as lakes, fjords and sheltered coastal areas, utilizing traditional fixed-bottom wind turbine technologies, as well as deeper-water areas utilizing floating wind turbines.

India is one of the countries with the largest production of energy from renewable sources. In the electricity sector, renewable energy account for 34.4% of the total installed power capacity. Large hydro installed capacity was 45.29 GW as of 31 March 2018, contributing to 13% of the total power capacity. The remaining renewable energy sources accounted for 20% of the total installed power capacity as of 30 June 2018.

Solar power in Pakistan

Pakistan has some of the highest values of insolation in the world, with eight to nine hours of sunshine per day, ideal climatic conditions for solar power generation. However, the country has been slow to adopt the technology.

Renewable energy in Morocco represented 0.4% of the national energy balance and nearly 10% of electricity production in 2007. Renewable energy is supported by strong hydropower sources and the newly installed wind energy parks. Morocco plans a $13 billion expansion of wind, solar and hydroelectric power generation capacity and associated infrastructure that should see the country get 42% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. The Moroccan government is keen on increasing renewable energy production, as Morocco's January–September oil bill reached about USD 1.4 billion in subsidies in 2009, registering a fall of 57.9% compared to 2008.

Seawater desalination in Australia

Australia is the driest habitable continent on Earth and its installed desalination capacity comprises around 1% of the world’s total. Until a few decades ago, Australia met its demands for water by drawing freshwater from dams and water catchments. As a result of the water supply crisis during the severe 1997–2009 drought, state governments began building desalination plants that purify seawater using reverse osmosis technology.

Wind power in Kansas

The U.S. State of Kansas has high potential capacity for wind power, second behind Texas. The most recent estimates (2012) are that Kansas has a potential for 952 GW of wind power capacity yet has only about 1.2 GW installed. Kansas could generate 3,102 TW·h of electricity each year, which represents over 75% of all the electricity generated in the United States in 2011. This electricity could be worth $290 billion per year. Kansas generated 29.6% of its electricity with wind in 2016.

Wind power in Japan

In Japan's electricity sector wind power generates a small proportion of the country's electricity. As of 2017, the country had a total installed capacity of 3,399 MW. Government targets for wind power deployment are relatively low when compared to other countries, at 1.7% of electricity production by 2030. It has been estimated that Japan has the potential for 144 GW for onshore wind and 608 GW of offshore wind capacity.

Renewable energy in Taiwan

Renewable energy in Taiwan contributed to 8.7% of national electricity generation as of end of 2013. The total installed capacity of renewable energy in Taiwan by the end of 2013 was 3.76 GW.


  1. Husain 2014.
  2. 1 2 Energy Alternatives India (EAI) 2017.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 CRISIL 2014.
  4. RAJYA SABHA STARRED QUESTION NO. * 310- Technology to harness Wave Energy. (2012, September 03). Retrieved from http://moes.gov.in/writereaddata/files/RS_310_11_15_2012.pdf
  5. 1 2 3 Bajpai 2017.
  6. "Wave Energy". 2007-06-13. Retrieved 2017-10-08.
  7. "Ocean Energy and Fresh Water | Ministry of Earth Sciences". www.moes.gov.in. Retrieved 2017-10-08.


  1. Bajpai, Neeraj (2017). "India takes giant leap on Green Energy Targets". Press Information Bureau | Government of India.
  2. Study on Tidal & Waves Energy in India: Survey on the Potential & Proposition of a Roadmap (PDF). CRISIL. 2014.
  3. "Ocean energy". Energy Alternatives India (EAI). 2017.
  4. Husain, Majid (2014). Indian And World Geography. Mcgraw Hill Education (India). ISBN   978-9352607785.