India’s western state of Gujarat is establishing a power plant that will utilize the flow of ocean tides to generate electricity.
The agreement between London-based Atlantis Resources Corporation and the Gujarat government was signed earlier this week after a study identified the Gulf of Kutch along India’s western coast as suitable for tidal power generation.
Tidal power uses turbines to harness the energy contained in the flow of ocean tides.
The project - the first of its kind in the country - will generate 50 megawatts of power. But its capacity can be increased to 250 megawatts.
South Korea is the only other Asian country known to be building a tidal power plant. If Gujarat’s plant is commissioned earlier, the project will become Asia’s first tidal power project.
Rajkumar Rajsinghani, the official overseeing the tidal power project at Gujarat Power Corporation Limited, says the project will have multiple benefits for the state.
"It will help us in two regards,” Rajsinghani explains. “This technology is not with Asia Pacific countries. That technology will be transferred to the state. And second thing is that since this is a project that can generate power round the clock we are thinking this source will be helpful to give us good, renewable power on a competitive price."
Officials in Gujarat hope the upcoming tidal power facility will be the first of several others because the state’s 1,600-kilometer-long coastline offers good potential for generation of tidal power.
Gujarat is one of India’s most industrialized and economically progressive states, but like the rest of the country, it generates most of its power from fossil fuels. However, in the coming years, the state plans to establish tidal, wind and solar power plants to produce more than 7000 megawatts of power and significantly raise the share of renewable energy sources.
India's effort to build clean energy sources, including solar energy, comes amid a global focus climate change and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. India is the world’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases.
Worldwide, the generation of tidal power is still small compared to other renewable sources of energy, such as solar and wind, but experts say that could change with the rising focus on clean energy sources.