Trade mission raises Amaerican profile

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Wind energy was on the agenda of a 47-member power mission from the US, headed by Secretary of Energy, Hazel O'Leary, which visited India July 12-15. Several American wind companies are currently considering wind projects in India, including Zond, Cannon and Kenetech.

Speaking at the trade mission's official reception, O'Leary said that interest in alternative technologies for rural development provided an "outstanding opportunity to build new linkages between business leaders of both countries." The high level visit drew the presence of no less than three Indian ministers of state -- for power, non conventional energy sources and environment. The Minister for Non Conventional Energy Sources, S Krishna Kumar, said that he hoped "to sign a charter for expanding vistas for co-operation with the US in the arena of renewables."

But not all present at the official gathering of the mission were as equally enthusiastic. Scott Bayman, president of GE India, said that progress was slow and suffered from the lack of precedent for economic liberalisation in India. "Government must monitor its liberalisation policies. The state electricity boards must become financially sound. Restructuring of them, including privatisation, will help them to become more viable," he said.

Representing the US wind industry, Brian O'Sullivan, managing director of Cannon Power Corporation, announced his company was setting up an office in Delhi and had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Bangar Group of Calcutta for a 25 MW wind farm in India. The wind project would be the first in India by a US company. Cannon Energy Corp has also announced in the US that its former president, Leif Johansen, is taking over as president of Cannon Turbine Corp. Johansen will focus on technology transfer and manufacturing of the Cannon 26/250 overseas. A factory should be ready in India within about a year (Windpower Monthly, August 1994).

An earlier, much publicised, project proposed by Cannon for the state of Gujarat, to be developed with Sun Source Technology, apparently faded when the venture ran into problems with land acquisition. However, O'Sullivan said Cannon would be making an announcement regarding an Indian partner for manufacture of wind turbines in India. "We'll be announcing our decision soon," he said.

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