Western manufacturers step up presence in booming India
Some of Europe’s biggest turbine manufacturers are looking at the Indian market with new interest. As well as announcing plans to work in India, Vestas, Nordex and Senvion have all also backed these intentions by investing in manufacturing assets in the country.
This renewed interest mainly stems from the impressive year-on-year growth the Indian wind sector has witnessed recently, culminating in more than 5GW of new capacity in the last financial year.
The manufacturers are also being attracted to the market following India’s move to an auction model and away from the turnkey model where manufacturers doubled up as developers and operators.
Vestas was one of the earliest entrants to the Indian market, kickstarting its operation in 1989 and was among the top three Indian players.
The Danish firm sold about 3GW of machines but quit India in 2012. It returned in 2014, announcing contracts worth 86MW in 2016.
Amar Variawa, director of marketing and public affairs at Vestas India, said the company is now “more serious about India” and has evolved a “very different strategy”, which will be announced in September.
He indicated that Vestas will leverage its technological strengths to gain market share in India.
The clear emphasis on India is evident from the fact that the company has a set up a carbon-fibre manufacturing plant in Gujarat investing about EUR50 million.
Making the blades locally will be cheaper and save transportation costs, allowing Vestas to drop prices.
Last year, Senvion acquired the Indian assets of German wind-turbine manufacturer Kenersys, securing itself an established manufacturing base in India.
Late in 2016, Senvion concluded its first contract in India for the supply of 220 Senvion turbines totalling more than 500MW under a framework agreement with one of the large Indian independent power producers.
At the recent Windergy India 2017 event, Senvion launched four turbine models: the 2.4M110, 2.4M114, 2.3M120 and 2.3M124.
Jurgen Geissinger, CEO of Senvion, said: “With the launch of four products that have been optimised with Senvion technology, we can immediately offer our customers the right solutions for their wind-power project in India. Further successful solutions and innovations will follow as the market demands in future.”
Nordex recently announced at its shareholders meeting that it had signed power purchase contracts with Karnataka for two of the German wind turbine manufacturer’s parks.
At Windergy India 2017, Nordex launched the Acciona Wind Power-designed AW125/3000 machine. It will be the largest 3MW machine available in India, with a rotor diameter of 125 metres and a hub height of 120 metres.
Nordex already has manufacturing facilities for the AW125/3000 turbine in Tamil Nadu and has a factory producing concrete towers in Bijapur, Karnataka.
“Our proven technology and commitment to monitoring and improving our products will provide a power generation asset that exceeds expectations, particularly in the key areas of availability and production,” said Prashanth Vittal, who heads Nordex’s Indian business.
Enercon is said to be planning to re-enter the Indian market. The German manufacturer once had an extremely successful joint venture with the Indian Mehra Group, launched in 1994, and was among the top wind players in India.
But the relationship between the two companies became increasingly acrimonious from 2004, when a patent pact for the joint venture expired.
This came to a head in 2007, when Enercon’s representatives were effectively excluded from the board of the joint venture, rebranded as Wind World in 2012. The two firms have since been engaged in a long-running legal battle in India.
This time, however, Enercon is planning a measured entry and has reportedly hired Ralph Tobergte, an India expert from Germany, to help formulate its country strategy. The company has not commented directly on these developments.
These companies will be hoping to emulate the success of Gamesa, now Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy, which is one of India’s top turbine manufacturers, with several production facilities in the country.
The Indian government is targeting 175GW of renewables by 2022, including 100GW of solar and 60GW of cumulative wind-power capacity.