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India

India

EUROPEAN FIRMS ADVANCE

Danish and German companies exporting to India are trying to overcome the challenges of the Indian market such as weak grids, poor roads and lack of large cranes. Leasing of cranes and a newly developed erection system which does away with the need for cranes altogether are the solutions they are working on.

Wind World is the latest Danish company to be feverishly supplying the seemingly insatiable Indian market for wind turbines. Since the middle of last year the company has been dispatching six to 12 of its 250 kW model each week to meet a target of 170 machines due for delivery in Tamil Nadu by the end of next month. Orders for a further 200 of the machines, for delivery between April and August, have also been received.

All the turbines are being bought by Wind World's agent in Tamil Nadu, Arul Mariamman Textiles Ltd (AMTL) of Coimbatore, a large company and part of a group with 50,000 employees, says Wind World's Wilhelm Skott Hansen. AMTL is using some of the Wind World machines to supply its own premises, but selling the majority to third parties. The turbines are exported complete from Denmark, minus the towers and generators which are supplied by Indian companies. The machines are then assembled by AMTL.

In a few weeks Wind World will also be exporting two 500 kW turbines for test operation in India. Skott Hansen points out, however, that the 250 kW is better suited to the existing Indian infrastructure and available cranes. "If you get to a 50 metre turbine these problems just get worse. But they want to have the 500 kW," he says.

As yet, Skott Hansen says there are no concrete plans to set up production of Wind World turbines in India, but he has not ruled out the option. "As long as they do not put taxes on imported wind turbines it is economic to export to India," he says.

Unlike Wind World, Enercon of Germany has taken the plunge and decided to manufacture its E-30 in India. Enercon's Indian factory will be on the outskirts of Bombay where Enercon already has a marketing office. Although the company cannot yet say how many machines will leave the works each week once it opens in mid April, "they will be manufactured according to European standards under the technical supervision of Enercon and in co-operation with Indian engineers and experts familiar with the local conditions."

Enercon says the E-30 design is well adapted to the challenges of the Indian market, which include weak grids, poor roads and the dearth of large cranes. Its machine, continues the company, can be adapted to various wind speeds through a choice of tower height (30 or 50 metres), two rotor sizes (26 and 30 metre diameter) and a selection of generator size (200, 230 and 280 kW). The E-30 follows the same basic design of the now well tested E-40, with multiprocessor control, variable speed, synchronous operation of three independent blade pitch control systems and free choice of power factor to support the grid.

The most obvious novelty with the E-30 is a newly developed erection system which does away with the need for a large crane. This system first places individual tower elements onto one another and then raises the nacelle and blades onto the tower in two parts. Like the turbine itself, the erection system has been dimensioned for container transport. Already three E-30 turbines have been installed in Germany while a further five are currently going in the ground in India, although Enercon would not be specific about the region or site for these new installations.xxxGermany's second manufacturer of large turbines, Tacke Windtechnik of Salzbergen, says it will install at least 74, 600 kW machines in India in 1995, divided into projects in southern India and Gujarat. Tacke's Erik Trast admits that installation of the large machine is a problem at the moment due to the lack of large cranes. Assembly atop a 50 metre tower takes a lot more time and is more complicated, too, he points out. However, from June the company will lease a 200 tonne crane from Germany for use in India. "This option pays off once you are dealing with projects worth DEM 20-30 million," says Trast. Logistics have to be thought through carefully, though, since the projects in southern India and Gujarat are over 2000 kilometres apart, a long way on Indian roads. But Tacke is not alone in its decision to build big in India. Danish Micon has plans for its 600 kW in Gujarat and Vestas, also of Denmark, is expecting to install its 500 kW in southern India.

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