Business press wind focus

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The booming wind power sector in India has caught the attention of the country's business press, with the Hindu Business Line, Asia Times Online (ATO) and, among others, all providing investment reports.

ATO notes that firms such as Bajaj Auto, Godrej Group, MSPL Ltd, Ramco Group, Alembic, Bannari Amman group and a large number of textile units in Tirupur have all been persuaded "to try wind energy." It reports that the Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd in Mumbai has identified seven sites in Maharashtra and Karnataka for its wind energy projects and aims to generate 500MW in the next three to four years. State energy giant Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) and Reliance Energy Ltd (REL) have also announced plans to invest in wind energy, according to ATO. "ONGC is developing projects across six states and REL is planning projects in coastal states, including Karnataka."

Investment plans

REL is proposing to add around 500MW of wind capacity, with Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat seen as prospective locations. Expected investment is $556 million, 75% of which will be the cost of equipment being supplied by US turbine manufacturer GE. ONGC, meanwhile, is planning two plants with a combined capacity of 150MW for in Gujarat. It is also hoping to establish wind farms in South India, possibly in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh where it has its production facilities.

Along with the Hindu Business Line, ATO also reports that "Non-resident Indian businessman C. Sivasankaran, who last year pocketed $800 million by selling his mobile-phone service, Aircel, to Malaysia's Maxis, is investing more than $120 million in the wind energy sector, which is only phase one of his more elaborate plans." His wind projects will be managed by Aircel Ventures and Siva Ventures.

"Siva has acquired land across India's most promising regions for wind energy (the Tirunelveli and Nagercoil districts in South Tamil Nadu) and is picking up equity stakes in contractors for maintaining the windmills," reports ATO. Sivasankaran told ATO that phase one of the plan involves investment of INR 6 billion ($134 million). "We want to have 150MW under our belt in the first year of our operations." The news organisation notes the group has acquired close to 485 hectares of land across southern Tamil Nadu for this purpose.

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