Latvia

Latvia

LATVIA SELLING SMALL UNITS OVERSEAS

For the second year running, Baltaruta of Latvia, a relative newcomer to the market for small wind energy generators, exhibited at the 1995 Hannover Trade Fair where it drew attention to its range of products. Baltaruta offers a 500 W model, the BRC-mini, now in series production, and a BRC-small 3.7 kW unit as well as a BRC-aero 10-18 kW machine, both undergoing pre-market testing. Baltaruta has sold manufacturing licences to state owned aviation enterprises in Russia and Ukraine.

Baltaruta of Latvia, a relative newcomer to the market for small wind energy generators, exhibited at the Hannover Trade Fair in April for the second year running to draw attention to its range of products. The company, based in the Latvian capital of Riga, was founded in October 1990 and grew out of a department of the Riga Aerospace Institute which concentrated on wind energy electro-engineering, manufacturing and testing. Since December 1991 the firm has designed, manufactured and tested small wind turbines and components.

Baltaruta offers a 500 W model, the BRC-mini, now in series production, and a BRC-small 3.7 kW unit as well as a BRC-aero 10-18 kW machine, both currently undergoing pre-market testing. They should go into series production in early 1996.

The company sold 30 of its 500 W machines last year but expects to market up to 1500 in 1995. Customers are mainly Germans seeking a source of power for their homes or country cottages. According to Ivars Strautins, a Riga-based consultant representing Baltaruta, the company is now co-operating with Solar Nord based in Wismar, Germany, though at least 50, 300 W units are being shipped to a company in Brazil, based in Fortalezo, which specialises in alternative energies.

Eugeny Ostapenko, president of Baltaruta, reports that he has received more than 500 enquiries from 58 countries. But he adds: "We have insufficient production capacity to meet the huge demand for our product." To cope with demand Baltaruta has sold manufacturing licences to state owned aviation enterprises in Russia and Ukraine. Ostapenko says he is interested in "establishing business connections with companies involved in designing and distributing wind power plant as well as with investors who wish to finance scientific and manufacturing activities."

The Latvian home market is not very promising, explain Strautins and Jurijs Roliks of Baltaruta. The population is small -- only 2.5 million -- and one million live in Riga. Electricity is also cheap -- the equivalent of just DEM 0.05/kWh -- making it difficult for wind to compete. In addition Latvia winds average only about 5.6 m/s.

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