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INDIA AND AMERICA TYING RENEWABLES KNOT

$1 billion in agreements were signed by private US and Indian companies at a ceremony in Washington DC. The 25 deals, signed in December, include several involving wind that are expected to lead to at least 75 MW of development. The US Department of Energy (DOE) considers the agreements a milestone in co-operation between the two leading nations in renewables.

When US Energy Secretary Hazel O'Leary visits New Delhi this month, she will call for stronger ties between America and India in renewable energy. Her trip, to sustain momentum between the two countries, comes just weeks after $1 billion in agreements were signed by private US and Indian companies at a ceremony in Washington DC. The 25 deals, signed in December, include several involving wind that are expected to lead to at least 75 MW of development.

Among the agreements are a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between KEI Energy of Hyderabad and Kenetech Corp for at least 50 MW of wind farms in India; announcement of a 25 MW power purchase agreement with Optimum Power of Lancaster, California for a $50 million wind farm, to be built within 18 months in Kerala state; an MOU between Solstar Power and Light of San Diego and Tata Energy Research Institute of New Delhi for wind energy resource mapping; a MOU between the US Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) and Bharat Heavy Electrical Ltd of India for low-speed variable-speed wind turbines and advanced high-efficiency photovoltaic concentrators; and a MOU between the Indian Ministry of Non-conventional Sources (MNES) and EPRI to expand links between US utilities and MNES, especially in PV, wind and biomass.

The US Department of Energy (DOE) considers the agreements a milestone in co-operation between the two leading nations in renewables. The visit to Washington of India's renewable energy minister, Krishna Kumar, for the signing also came less than six months after O'Leary headed a trade mission to India that prompted $3 billion in sustainable-energy agreements. It is the first time the countries have co-operated on renewables at ministerial level, says David Mooney of DOE's international renewable energy programme, who accompanied O'Leary last summer. Mooney says the Kenetech deal is to lead to 100 MW over five years, starting with a 30 MW project. Kenetech's Bud Grebey says the agreement is to supply turbines if projects are built by KEI, a development company experienced in large energy projects. Kenetech expects to supply turbines for a minimum of 50 MW.

Optimum's power purchase agreement is with the Kerala State Electricity Board, with construction by the second half of 1995 and on line by mid 1996, says the company's Mel Weger. Optimum, which has developed property in the past, has not developed a wind project before. The DOE also notes the power purchase agreement is for Kumar's home state. Solstar is a small integrated power developer of wind, PV and solar, says chief executive director John Johanson, formerly of SeaWest. Its deal is with the non-profit research wing of the largest corporate conglomerate in India, Tata Industries. BHEL, in the low-wind-speed deal with EPRI, is also a huge group in the power industry, notes the DOE's Mooney. He says the pact is to lead to commercialisation of variable-speed machines in India. Lastly, the agreement between EPRI and MNES is more broad-based, but also to promote commercialisation.

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