Dutch industry gets help in India, Aid from the Netherlands

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A new round of Dutch aid for wind energy in India has been closely tied to Holland's domestic industry. "Dutch companies do not have the advantage of having a six year start like the others in India, particularly the Danes," says Hans Santen, first secretary for commerce at the Netherlands Embassy in New Delhi. "Now that we are in the market, we would like to be as successful as the others" .

The new aid programme entitled, MILIEV, follows on the heels of the previous Development Related Export Transactions Programme, known as ORET. It granted NLG 20 million to the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency, money that largely benefited the construction of wind plant using Danish technology. MILIEV, however, does not issue government-to-government grants, but provides 40% of the capital costs of Indo-Dutch projects which lead to environmental and economic self sufficiency -- provided, that is, the recipient is Dutch.

"The essential thing is that these projects must not be commercially viable," says Santen. In judging whether wind energy meets this criteria he says: "We follow the OECD description that clearly states that a project can only be viable once it stands on its own after all tax benefits have been removed." MILIEV has no fixed budget, according to Santen, and each project is looked at on a case by case basis. Several hundred million Dutch guilders are available, he estimates. For MILIEV backing, a project must be of 70% Dutch origin.

Wind projects financed by MILIEV in India include Dutch collaborations such as Das Lagerwey. Santen hastens to ensure that failures of Lagerwey blades in India were caused by flaws in the Indian towers and not the blades. "Lagerwey has been quick to redress the problem," he says. In the pipeline for Lagerwey are two 20 MW projects each for Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. These projects are not yet approved and are "still in the bureaucratic phase," says Santen.

Dutch firm Nedwind has received NLG 3 million for its wind farm in Ramagiri in Andhra Pradesh and it is rumoured that WindMaster has also set its sights on India. Santen does not rule out the possibility of an ORET grant for technology transfer to help Dutch companies set up production in India. "We are taking one thing at a time," he says.

Santen praises the package of wind market incentives introduced by India's Ministry of Non Conventional Energy Sources, calling it one of the most advanced in the world. But he feels a system of wind turbine certification is crucial. Dutch national laboratory, ECN, is working on setting up a test site in Gujarat.

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