The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for India becoming a member country of the International Energy Agency - Ocean Energy Systems (IEA-OES) by signing the Implementing Agreement (IA). The nodal agency for the membership would be Earth System Science Organisation - National Institute of Ocean Technology (ESSO-NIOT) under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
By becoming a member of the IEA-OES, India will have access to advanced R&D teams and technologies across the world. India will partner in developing test protocols along with other countries. This will help in testing Indian prototypes as per international requirements and norms. Joint cooperative programs with institutes of member countries could be taken up. India's own research projects with specific targets can be taken up in conjunction with other countries.
The long coastline of India and severe power deficit in the country, warrant the study of ocean renewable energies. Vagaries of the sea makes harnessing ocean energy a technological challenge. In the Indian context designing of scaled up ocean energy devices (including wave, currents and tidal) and their techno-commercial viability needs to be undertaken. Tropical countries have high sea surface temperatures and hence Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) is a good option for countries like India. NIOT, an autonomous research institute under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, is working in the area of ocean energy and desalination.
The IEA is an inter-governmental organization with a broad role of promoting alternate energy sources (including renewable energy), rational energy policies and multinational energy technology co¬operation and acts as energy policy advisor to 29 member countries. The OES, launched in 2001, is an intergovernmental collaboration between countries, which operates under framework established by the International Energy Agency. This initiative is to advance research, development and demonstration of technologies to harness energy from all forms of ocean renewable resources, as well as for other uses, such as desalination etc. through international cooperation and information exchange.