Kenetech of the United States has broken the European held import monopoly in India by selling wind turbines to southern India. Aban Ltd is going to be Kenetech's agent in India.

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An unprecedented sale of US wind turbines has been made for a 33 MW wind farm in southern India, breaking the import monopoly European technology has on the country's rapidly growing market. Kenetech Windpower of California has made an "immediate sale" of 80 Model 33M-VS turbines to a joint venture affiliate of Aban Ltd, a major engineering, construction and drilling services concern based in Madras in Tamil Nadu. The state already has a growing wind turbine manufacturing base. Aban is also to become Kenetech's agent in India.

The wind farm will be installed in southern Tamil Nadu near Cape Comorin and be owned by private investors. The power will be sold to the local utility. Aban owns 500 acres of land in Muppandal and Kayathar and plans to develop 30 MW of installed capacity within five months, says Parasuraman Venkateswaran of the company.

"Following that we are expecting to build roughly 100 MW a year," he adds. We will set up our own manufacturing plant within one year of our project coming on line." The factory is expected to be located in either Madras or Pondicherry.

All the wind turbines for the first 30 MW will be shipped to India by the end of the first quarter of 1995, says Kenetech. More of the variable-speed turbines may also be installed under the agreement with Aban, announced on December 2. As of December 7, more than 30 Model 33M-VS units had been shipped, adds Kenetech's Bud Grebey. India has more than 20,000 MW of wind potential, says Kenetech.

"For Aban, this is a very important mile-stone in its programme of development of energy related areas to join with Kenetech, with its superior technology, to harness the vast wind potential available in India," says M A Abraham, chairman and managing director of the joint venture, Aban Loyd Chiles Offshore Ltd. "We are sure this will go a long way in achieving the corporate objectives, as well as fulfilling the national priorities in terms of pollution-free energy for deficit areas of the country," he continues. The joint venture is a US-Indian partnership involved primarily in offshore oil drilling.

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