Indian recovery under threat

INDIA: Organised crime and a collapsing currency are combining to endanger the recovery of the wind industry in the sub-continent, despite the reinstatement of a government subsidy.

Gangs have been targeting India's windfarms for their copper cabling
Gangs have been targeting India's windfarms for their copper cabling

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Gangs of thieves have been targeting turbines in the north-west state of Rajasthan, using electric cutting machines to get at the copper cabling. The wiring from a single turbine can fetch up to US$20,000 on the black market.

Rajasthan has 2,355MW of installed capacity but 15% of turbines are out of commission, according to Indian wind energy officials. They estimated the thieves have caused US$25 million of damage in the past 18 months.

The rupee’s biggest plunge in 20 years – it has slid 17% against the US dollar this year – is pushing up finance and import costs, effectively wiping out the government subsidy restored to the wind industry in August.

"A rapidly falling rupee affects investor confidence in the Indian economy and is likely to impact our expansion plans," said Mahesh Makhija, director of renewables at the Indian arm of CLP Holdings Ltd.

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