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2,288 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Tamil Nadu has been a leader in renewable energy production in India right from the start. It accounts for around 50% (5500 MW) of the wind power generation capacity installed in the country as of March 2010. The state which accounts for 1% of the world's population generates 3% of the total global wind power.

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Source: Wikipedia

It has also made the right start in solar power generation with the commissioning of 5 MW solar power plant in December 2010 at Sivaganga in southern part of the state. This is the largest single solar power generation installation in the country. It uses thin film technology, manufactured and installed by Noida based world leader, Moser Baer Clean Energy limited. (MB is the current holder of world record for energy conversion ratio - ratio of amount of energy converted to electricity to the energy incident on the module by thin film technology).

Edit: Tamil Nadu government came out with a solar policy on Oct 26 2012 to create 3000 MW capacity by 2015. Read the policy note here.

Although this thread will be mainly used for wind and solar power, feel free to post any news or discussions regarding hydro, geothermal, tidal, biomass or any other renewable source of energy associated with Tamil Nadu.

List of solar projects (1 MW minimum):

Moser Baer Clean Energy Limited - 5MW thin film solar at Sivaganga district - Completed.

Tata BP Solar - 1MW thin film solar at Mayiladuthurai - Completed.

Numeric Power - 2MW - 1 MW at Coimbatore completed.

Zynergy - 1MW in Madurai district - Completed. The company plans to expand upto 50MW by 2015.

CCCL Infra - 5MW at Thoothukudi
- Under construction.

RPP Infra - 5MW at Kumudhi - Under construction.

SouthernSolar Power Pvt Ltd (SSPPL)
SSPPL is in the process of acquiring a thousand acres of land for phase one and is seeking authorization to build a 350 MW solar power farm in Tamil Nadu, in partnership with Gestamp Solar SL, of Spain, a large, privately owned engineering company. Gestamp has already developed more than 3000MW of solar power farms worldwide.It is intended that this staged project will complete 50MW in 2012, 100MW in 2013, 100MW in 2014 and 100MW in 2015.

RL Clean Power, Sivanganga, 1MW

Sujana Towers Limited, Keela Arasadi, Tuticorin, 10MW, JNNSM Phase 1 Batch 2

Enfinity, Coimbatore - 100 MW - Planned

Voltech, NanoPV venture, Tuticorin - 100 MW - Planned

List will be updated periodically.

2,288 Posts
Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
There are two very important reasons for focused development of renewable energy.

1) Non renewable sources are exhaustible.
They are in one way or another, an accumulation of solar energy received in the first 4.6 billion years of earth's existence. They are being depleted at an unprecedented pace. Sooner or later, the world will have to learn to live within its means.

2) Climate change.
Although there is a raging debate going on, it is widely believed that excessive use of fossil fuels is atleast partly responsible for global warming. This necessitates adaptation of renewable sources of energy which is much more cleaner, inexhaustible and environmentally friendly.

I will concentrate more on the first point in this post (Non renewable sources are exhaustible).

The vast majority of current energy source comes from 1) coal 2) natural gas 3) crude oil. Let us look each of it in detail.

Coal is currently the largest source of power generation worldwide. It accounts for 56% of electricity generated in India. The country has huge deposits, but the demand of power has pushed India to be a net importer of coal, mainly from Australia and Indonesia. India has reserves of close to 100 billion tonnes (10% of world's reserves) and its annual production is nearly 600 million tonnes.

The reserves might appear to be large, but it is not the case. Most of the high quality coal (anthracite and bituminous variety) have been already mined and what remains is only sub bituminous and lignite (worst grade) variety. India may not be sustain its current rate of growth of coal based thermal power stations beyond two decades. Further mining and production may actually decrease after 20 years creating a crisis if alternative source of power is not available. Prices of imported coal is also expected to shoot in a few years due to the demand in other developing economies making import unviable.

Coal is also one of biggest polluter on earth. It releases twice as much CO2 as natural gas per unit of energy produced. It also releases highly noxious oxides of sulfur, nitrogen and other carcinogenic molecules into the atmosphere. As the quality of coal goes down, this problem is accentuated. Mining of coal in itself is a major environmental problem and has lead to wide scale protests from locals and environmentalists.

Coal is also responsible for a large share of mining related deaths.

As a result of all the above factors, India will be forced to abandon its plan of having coal based thermal power stations as its backbone of energy policy and look towards other sources of energy.

Natural gas

This accounts for around 13% of current power generation. Gas based power generation is cleaner, and is less polluting to extract than coal, but just like coal, the reserves at the current rate of exploitation wont last long. India does not have any giant fields and cant afford a gas based power policy. The reserves are concentrated in Russia, North America and middle east. Importing vast amount of natural gas will compromise India's independence in foreign policy. China which is another country without huge domestic reserves is voluntarily desisting itself from getting addicted to natural gas. Further it is sensible to divert domestic natural gas for household purpose and transportation rather than for power generation. Generating power through solar and wind power and running vehicles with CNG makes much more sense than generating power with natural gas and running vehicles with solar and wind power (I don't think that's possible).

Crude oil
At present, power generation with the products of crude is not substantial. Private business owners use diesel and kerosene to power their campuses, but this capacity is irrelevant as compared to the total capacity.

The total oil and oil related product production reached a peak of 87 million barrels/day in 2006. Inability to increase production after that resulted in abnormal increase in crude oil prices to reach a peak of $147/barrel on 14th June 2008. This resulted in economic recession and demand destruction in the western world. The current rate of production is 86 million b.p.d. Geologists and scientists are warning that we have already reached the peak oil in 2006 and we are in the declining phase right now. The proven reserves remaining is around 1.2 trillion barrels and the world consumes 32 billion b.p.year. Its safe to say that by 2030, most of the vehicles will be running on alternative vehicles including electric vehicles. This decline in crude will place an indirect burden on electricity generation in that the replacement electric vehicles will be using electricity from the grid.

So it is imperative that India gears up for a renewable energy future before it is too late.

2,288 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Solar energy

Solar power plants capture solar radiation and convert it into electricity. The amount of radiation captured depends upon the technology used and the solar insolation. With the current technology, anywhere between 20 - 60 MW of peak power can be generated using solar technology per square kilometer of area.

This image shows the insolation map of the world. If solar plants are build in the respective black dots, it will be enough to serve the world's energy needs. (Source: Wikipedia)

Solar energy can be captured by a large variety of technology. It can be broadly divided into photovoltaics and solar thermal.

Solar thermal technology is the preferred technology for large power plants using solar energy. It is based on concentrating solar energy on a point of focus by either single or multiple mirrors. Water or other fluids are heated by this method and used to drive thermal turbines which generate electricity.

This picture shows a solar thermal plant which uses multiple plane mirrors focusing the sun's rays at a point of focus on the tower. Water in the tower is heated to anywhere between 200 - 400 degree celcius and is used to drive a steam turbine to generate electricity. (Source: Wikipedia)

This video illustrates how a solar tower works.

This picture shows a solar thermal plant which uses multiple parabolic mirrors focusing the sun's rays on the tube seen in the center. That tube contains water or other fluid which gets heated and used to drive a thermal plant. (Source: Wikipedia)

The largest single solar power installation in the world, 354 MW Solar Energy Generating Systems (SEGS) located in California's Mojave Desert uses this technology.

This video shows the functioning of SEGS.

Photovoltaics (PV) is a method of generating electrical power by converting solar radiation into direct current electricity using semiconductors that exhibit the photovoltaic effect (creation of a voltage in a material upon exposure to light). Photovoltaic power generation employs solar panels comprising a number of cells containing a photovoltaic material. Materials presently used for photovoltaics include monocrystalline silicon, polycrystalline silicon, amorphous silicon, cadmium telluride, and copper indium selenide/sulfide.

There are two major branches of technology involved in photovoltaics - Crystalline silicon and thin film technology.

Crystalline silicon:
Polycrystalline as well as monocrystalline solar cells belong into this group. The basic form for crystalline solar cells production is silicon ingot. The ingot (block of silicon), sawn with diamond saw into thin silicon wafers, is a foundation for solar cell production. Wafers of 1 mm in thickness sawn with 1/10 mm precision are placed between two plan-parallel metal plates, which rotate into opposite directions. The procedure enables wafer thickness adjustment to 1/1000 mm precisely. The subsequent solar cell production procedure consists of the following steps:

Doped wafers are first etched some micro-metres deep. The procedure removes crystal-structure irregularities caused by sawing and provides wafer cleaning. The material is doped as melt at polycrystal silicon or adequate gas is added whilst extracting pure silicon.
The above procedure is followed by diffusion. Phosphorus, which is supplied inside the material in gaseous form, diffuses at the temperature of 800°C. N doped layer and oxide layer rich with phosphorus form on top of wafers due to oxygen reaction.
Wafers are then folded to form a cube and etched in oxygen plasma, removing N layer from the edges.
The following phase removes oxide layers from top of wafer by wet chemical etching.
In the back, contact surface is produced from silver containing 1% aluminium. Special procedures enable silver print over mask on cell surface.
Pressed cells are then sintered at high temperatures.
Similar procedure is used to print contacts in the front cell surface.
Anti-reflex layer is applied in a similar manner. We have titanium paste at choice, which at sintering form titanium dioxide TiO2 or silicon nitride Si3N4.

Representation of mono crystalline silicon structure (source/copyright:
Hahn-Meitner-Institut Berlin)

Although PV modules based on crystalline silicon has a better conversion rate (25% approx) than thin film technology, scarcity of raw material, presence of other industries which require the same material (electronics) and its resultant high cost have reduced its use in manufacturing of PV modules and the world wide trend in PV manufacturing is moving towards thin film technology.

Thin film technology: (uses amorphous silicon as opposed to crystalline silicon in the above group)
Amorphous solar cells are produced with similar technological procedures than integrated circuits. Due to the procedure these modules are also known as thin-film solar cells (thin-film modules). Herein, amorphous solar cells production is described briefly:

Glass substrate is thoroughly cleaned.
Lower contact layer is applied
The surface is then structured - divided into bands.
In vacuum, under high frequency electric field amorphous silicon layer is applied.
The surface is re-banded.
Upper metal electrodes are fixated.

A thin-film solar cell (TFSC), also called a thin-film photovoltaic cell (TFPV), is a solar cell that is made by depositing one or more thin layers (thin film) of photovoltaic material on a substrate. The thickness range of such a layer is wide and varies from a few nanometers to tens of micrometers.

Cross section of a thin film PV cell (Source: Wikipedia)

Many different photovoltaic materials are deposited with various deposition methods on a variety of substrates. Thin-film solar cells are usually categorized according to the photovoltaic material used:

* Amorphous silicon (a-Si) and other thin-film silicon (TF-Si)
* Cadmium Telluride (CdTe)
* Copper indium gallium selenide (CIS or CIGS)
* Dye-sensitized solar cell (DSC) and other organic solar cells

As crystalline silicon price rose, the production cost of silicon-based solar cell module in 2008 was at some point 4-5 times higher than that of thin film modules. Thin-film producers enjoy a price advantage as its production cost is 20% less than that of silicon modules.It is expected that the production cost of thin-film will continue dropping (40% less than silicon), as Chinese producers are now putting more resources into R&D and partnering with manufacturing equipment suppliers.
High speed roll-to-roll printing of polymer solar cells may potentially produce as many square meters of solar cells in an hour as a crystalline Silicon solar cell plant produces a year.

The biggest disadvantage of thin film technology is its lower efficiency (production value is only around 9% as opposed to around 25% in crystalline silicon cells).


For large scale power plants, solar thermal plants is much more cost effective as compared to PV cells.
For small scale installations, PV modules are used.
Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) are photovoltaic materials that are used to replace conventional building materials in parts of the building envelope such as the roof, skylights, or facades. They are increasingly being incorporated into the construction of new buildings as a principal or ancillary source of electrical power, although existing buildings may be retrofitted with BIPV modules as well. The advantage of integrated photovoltaics over more common non-integrated systems is that the initial cost can be offset by reducing the amount spent on building materials and labor that would normally be used to construct the part of the building that the BIPV modules replace. These advantages make BIPV one of the fastest growing segments of the photovoltaic industry.

BIPV in a house in California. (Source:Zeh, California)

Photovoltaics on a commercial building - Visionaire's mechanical bulkhead, New York City. (Source:Greentech media)

The above images show that BIPV can be aesthetically brilliant. With an explosion of technology, we can say the era of solar energy has truly dawned.

As Rammstein would say "Hier kommt die Sonne!" (Here comes the sun!):dj:
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21,022 Posts

Good thread. Hope the existing thread for power project can be used only for non-renewable power project.


Policy note of TN gvt for renewable energy.

Mad 4 Madras
823 Posts
Nice start Tshyam. I appreciate you to gather more information specific about renewable energy in Tamil Nadu and put it here rather than general news around the world.

And please put this in bold "The state which accounts for 1% of the world's population generates 3% of the total global wind power." :cheers:

Mad 4 Madras
823 Posts
Cross posting from TN projects Thread

Moser Baer Clean Energy Limited (MBCEL), a subsidiary of Moser Baer Projects Private Limited (MBPPL), has commissioned the country’s largest and the first 5 MW solar farm at Sivaganga in Tamil Nadu.

The technical expertise for commissioning was provided by the EPC (Engineering Procurement Commissioning) arm of Moser Baer Solar Limited. The International Finance Corporation and the IDBI bank has provided debt for the project, the company said on Tuesday.

The solar farm has been commissioned using amorphous silicon Thin Film technology which is best suited for the Indian climatic conditions and is connected to the 110 KVA local grid.

The project had been awarded by the Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA) and is being implemented under the Generation Based Incentive scheme of the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, Government of India.

The project awarded on the basis of a global bid is the first of its kind in the solar farm category to be commissioned in India under the phase 1 of the National Solar Mission, said the company.

Ratul Puri, Director, Moser Baer Projects Private Limited, said: “The successful commissioning of the first of its kind of solar farm at Sivaganga vindicates our deep rooted beliefs in our innate capabilities to commission large scale solar farms.

“As per official estimates, India receives solar radiation of about 5000 Trillion Kwh/Yr. This equates to 4-7 kWh/sqm/yr which is more than India’s total energy consumption (848 billion Kwhr – as projected by CEA). It is evident that India has immense potential and we need to ramp up rapidly in the right direction.”

Citing a report of CIBC Oppenheimer (a leading investment bank in Canada), Ratul stressed that around 85% of India's aggregate economic demand is domestically driven and to power this requirement many more large solar farms have to be commissioned on fast track.

The panels installed at Sivaganga Project were procured from Moser Baer Solar Limited, which is today one of the top players in the global solar market. These panels were used as they are best suited in ramping up grid connected solar farms in high ambient temperature region like India.

2,288 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Thanks everyone.

Cross posting from TN projects

R.P.P. Infra Projects Limited, primarily engaged in the business of infrastructure development such as highways, roads and bridges plans to enter into Solar Power project. The company plans to set – up a plant of 5 MW to generate electricity from non-conventional sources as solar power with the total investment of Rs. 80 crores. The company plans to commence the operation in the financial year of March 2011 - 2012.

The project will utilize crystalline technology for producing power by solar energy. This project foresees generation of safe, reliable electricity in an environmental friendly way. The company has selected the site at Kamudhi, Ramanathapuram District of Tamil Nadu, aggregated 92 acres of land in Tamil Nadu to set – up their ambitious project of the non-conventional energy as solar power plant. This site is considered to be one of the most potential areas identified for the solar energy, in South India. As per the geographical location of this site, latitude: 9° 25' 17" N, longitude: 78° 21' 45" E the annual solar radiation in the site is 5.6 Kwh/Sq.m.

For the solar power project, the company plans to enter through Joint Ventures with potential solar cell manufacturing companies in Thailand and China. The company is in advance talks with Thai Agency Engineering Cooperation Limited from Thailand. The company is also looking for the prospective partners from the company in China to commence their operation for Solar Power Projects.

The investment for the solar power project would be based on the agreement between the company and its Joint Venture partner. Funding for the project shall be finalised once the JV is crystallised.

Commenting on this project, Mr. Arul Sundaram, Chairman and Managing Director of RPP Infra Projects Limited said that “Solar power is one of the major non conventional energy resources available in plenty in this sub continent. Government of India has formed Jawarharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) and fixed the targets for the year ending 2012, 2015 & 2020 totaling to 20000 MWs. This clearly depicts the focus on the sector and to meet up the rising demand for the energy.

He further added: “We are looking for the prospective partners in China location for our ambitious project. We be finalizing the potential partner in coming months”

Apart from this project, the company also plans to set - up a manufacture unit for Solar PV module in coming years as the demand for the PV module is growing at a very fast pace.

2,288 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Cross posting from Madurai thread

Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple plans to install three solar power plants on its premises.

MADURAI: Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple plans to install three solar power plants on its premises. A top Central government official conducted a feasibility study at the temple on Monday and explained various subsidy schemes to temple officials.

R. Padmanaban, Executive Officer of the temple, told The Hindu that a 40- KW plant would be used to power the Thousand Pillar Hall Museum and another plant of 60-KW capacity for shops inside the temple premises. The last plant of 120-KW capacity would be only for the temple use.

The Director (Technical), Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Suresh Agarwal, had informed that the temple could avail 50 per cent subsidy for installing these power plants. Under the ‘Special Area Demonstration Project Scheme,' the Ministry was executing projects at 39 locations, including Parliament, Raj Bhavan in 10 States and four to six State Assembly complexes, besides religious places such as the Vaishnodevi Temple in Jammu and Kashmir and Golden Temple in Amritsar.

Further, some projects were also under way in Jammu and Kashmir and four World Heritage Sites in the country.

Once the project got sanctioned, the works would be completed in six months time, the officer had informed.

Also, Mr. Padmanaban said that he would request Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA) to give a demonstration of energy-efficient lights such as LED and induction lights as the temple was also contemplating replacing all tubelights and bulbs. The Ministry would also provide subsidy for this project.

Dr. Agarwal also visited Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple at Rameswaram on Sunday, where the temple had consented to replace 900 tubelights with energy-efficient lights such as CFL, LED and induction lights. A 20-KW solar plant was also likely to be established at this temple.

Mr. Padmanaban said that both proposals for installing the solar power plant and replacing normal lights with energy efficient lights would be discussed with Chairman of the board of trustees of the temple Karumuttu T. Kannan before taking a decision.

2,288 Posts
Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)

GMR Krishnagiri SEZ Ltd (GKSL) is a 2800 acres Multi Product Special Economic Zone (SEZ) being developed by GMR Group, an Indian infrastructure major with interests in Airports, Energy, Highways, Urban Infrastructure and SEZs.

GMR Group is developing the World’s first Special Economic Zone dedicated to Solar Industry – GMR Solar Tropic in the first phase of the 2800 acres Multi Product SEZ.

Situated on the Chennai – Bangalore growth corridor, GMR Solar Tropic would be an ecosystem for Solar goods, providing world class infrastructure and utilities to house all activities of Solar goods industry – across R&D, Manufacture, Services and Trading.

This zone would be a fully integrated ecosystem and would house common facilities for all stages of CSi, ASi, CdTe and CiGs value chains.

Solar Tropic | 2800 Acres | Hosur | Multi product SEZ | GMR

If this is a up and running one, then a separate thread can be created too.

More info:

Credits : GMR group website

181 Posts
T Shyam

A fine initiative on solar and wind by you. GMR has made a very instructive and impressive presentation. A video a day on all major projects in TN would dispel all cynicism

2,288 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Thanks Keeran. Unfortunately, the policy makers are thinking India can produce enough power with coal plants. They dont recognize (or does not act if they have recognized) that coal and other resources are very scarce and we will hit the ceiling much sooner than expected.

China fortunately has huge hydro resources. Their three gorges alone produce 20 GW of power. In spite of that, they are sanctioning solar and wind plants in droves. We would be left in the lurch if we dont act fast.

6,318 Posts
TN has good amount of potential in getting solar power. We can build more solar power plants in Virudhunagar, Sivagangai and Ramnad district. Not sure about other areas.

We already have good amount of installed capacity in terms of wind power. Wind power is generated in Kanyakumari, Coimbatore and Tirupur districts. Do we have wind power generation on any other districts?

2,126 Posts
TN has good amount of potential in getting solar power. We can build more solar power plants in Virudhunagar, Sivagangai and Ramnad district. Not sure about other areas.

We already have good amount of installed capacity in terms of wind power. Wind power is generated in Kanyakumari, Coimbatore and Tirupur districts. Do we have wind power generation on any other districts?
Wind mills are also installed in Tenkasi - Puliyarai area to harness the wind from Shencottah Pass of Western Ghats. So add T'veli district to the list.


2,288 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
As far as solar power goes, sooner or later, Rajasthan and Gujarat will be the leaders. It is estimated that the deserts in Rajasthan alone can generate 10 times the current consumption of India. The other states (including TN) should follow a grid connected diffuse set up. Policy formulation should enforce all buildings to have solar panels. For example Chennai alone can produce 2000 - 3000 MW if implemented properly. BIPV (see details in 3rd post) should be made mandatory in large buildings. Location for large scale plants - the three districts you mentioned has the highest potential no doubt.

Wind generation is concentrated along Palghat gap and Aranvaimozhi gap. Not sure which districts those cover.

However TN government is now looking at offshore opportunities.

2,288 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
Tamil Nadu exploring offshore wind farms

The Tamil Nadu Energy Development Agency (TEDA) said, it was estimated that around 5,000 mega watt (Mw) of power can be generated through wind energy in Tamil Nadu. Of this, 4,889 Mw has already achieved in March. The agency also said wind-based power generation will be enhanced further and next focus will be on solar.

R Christodas Gandhi, principal secretary, TEDA, said 41 sites were located in Tamil Nadu for setting up wind farms for power generation, of which 26 sites are exhausted. “We are also now looking at possibilities for setting up wind farms in offshore and coast line.”

“For the next five years Tamil Nadu is likely to add 500 Mw of wind power every year. Apart from this, the state has the potential to generate power from waste.Salem and Namakkal alone can produce 150 Mw of power by using waste, the state government had not tapped the opportunity so far,” said Deepak Gupta, secretary, ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE).

Gandhi added, solar energy also offers exciting opportunities in the state. “The only factor is cost, unless it comes down below Rs 10 crore (for setting up a one Mw solar power plant) investors will keep shying away from solar energy. This can be done through innovation and indigenous technology.”

1,241 Posts
TN has good amount of potential in getting solar power. We can build more solar power plants in Virudhunagar, Sivagangai and Ramnad district. Not sure about other areas.

We already have good amount of installed capacity in terms of wind power. Wind power is generated in Kanyakumari, Coimbatore and Tirupur districts. Do we have wind power generation on any other districts?
:eek:hno: you left panangudi,kakkarai(Valiyoor), south valiyoor,Kaval kinaru, sankarankovil, west side of Kaythar that comes under Tirunelveli district as well as Kovilpatti, Kayathar in Tutucorin district. Actually kanyakumari district starts from Aralvaymozhi but u can see wind mills on both sides of NH from panagudi, but evryone misconstrue that it is under Kanyakumari district.

2,288 Posts
Discussion Starter #20
Tamil Nadu — a hub of hubs

Home to vehicle manufacturers Ford, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Renault-Nissan and BMW, on the passenger cars side and Ashok Leyland and Daimler on the commercial side, Tamil Nadu is a well-known automotive hub.

What is less known is that the State is a hub of hubs, with several thriving manufacturing industry clusters. No, we are not talking of the traditional industries such as leather and textiles. Over the last few years, several such ‘hubs' have emerged in the State. Concentration of industries helps evolve ecosystems which drive the economy up.

Here is a look at some of the lesser-known, recently-emerged hubs.

Wind turbines

Tamil Nadu has the highest capacity of wind power in the country — about 4,872 MW, according to the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board. NEPC Micon and Vestas RRB were among the earliest wind turbine manufacturers in the country and both were Tamil Nadu-based. Thanks perhaps to that kick-start, a number of wind turbine manufacturers have set up shop in the recent years, to catch the evolving boom in wind energy, making Tamil Nadu a wind energy hub.

Gamesa of Spain is the world's third biggest wind turbine company. Recently, it invested about €40 million in setting up a manufacturing facility at Chennai. The plant can produce 200 MW worth of wind turbines each year, but that is only for starters, because Gamesa expects to need to expand capacity.

Gamesa has an interesting business model. It is a manufacturer of wind turbines and also a developer of wind farms. The company is looking to setting up large farms in Theni and Coimbatore districts of Tamil Nadu. The Chennai plant will cater to both captive and non-captive demand.

A few years back, the Chennai-based Sterling Infotech Group bought a Finnish wind power company, Winwind.

Sterling (or Siva Ventures as it is now called) decided to back-end its takeover with a manufacturing plant at Chennai. The plant, put up with an investment of Rs 375 crore, can produce turbines of total 1,000 MW of wind power capacity annually. Currently, the plant will produce only 1 MW machines, but in about 18 months WinWind will introduce 3 MW machines.

Vestas, the world's largest wind power company, was among the earliest entrants into the Indian wind power sector. Its joint venture, Vestas RRB, has successfully put up several wind mills all over the country. A couple of years ago, Vestas and RRB parted ways, which turned out to be good for Tamil Nadu, because both companies are now independently pursuing projects in the State.

Vestas has set up its technology centre in Chennai. The centre, spread over a more than 60,000 square feet area and located at TECCI Park, Chennai, will house Vestas Technology R&D's future activities in India. The centre will play a vital role in Vestas' global, long-term dedication to R&D in cooperation with Vestas' technology centres in Denmark, the UK, Singapore and the US.

The company, Vestas Wind Technology India Private Ltd (sales) Ltd, is also based out of Chennai. Its activities include sales, service and project execution in India. In addition, the company provides services such as wind assessment of sites, project development, sales, installation and service of wind turbines in India.

Shriram EPC, part of the Chennai-based Shriram Group, has joined hands with Leitner of Italy to set up a Rs 200-crore facility to produce gearless wind turbines. Leitner Shriram has a capacity to produce 150 units of 1.5 MW gearless wind turbines annually at the integrated facility which can manufacture the entire turbine, including the critical components, generator, controls and nacelle.

Apart from the domestic market, the facility would also export to Africa, Europe and West Asia. The 1.5-MW class units are the most popular. Demand is picking up with the focus on renewable energy sources. Leitner Shriram wind energy generators have been in operation in Shriram EPC's own wind farms.

A subsidiary of Shriram EPC, Orient Green Power Ltd, is a wind farm developer. The company is interested in both creating its own wind farms as well as buying over the existing farms. Orient Green, therefore, will provide anchor demand for Leitner Shriram. The Italian partner, Leitner, is interested in buying wind turbines from its Indian joint venture. Incidentally, the facilities of Leitner Shriram and WinWind, a little North of Chennai, are not much far apart. Both companies are keen on developing the downstream eco system, such as for forgings. With assured demand from the two companies, a vendor community is sure to develop in North Chennai.

RRB Energy, once a part of Vestas RRB, has its blade manufacturing plant near Chennai. The company now intends to invest Rs 100 crore in the next 18 months to expand its production capacity. This investment, coming on top of the just-concluded first phase of investments of Rs 65-crore, will increase manufacturing capacities of turbines and blades.

Power plant equipment

BHEL was the first. With a massive expansion of its facilities at Tiruchi, the public sector power equipment manufacturer has raised its capacity to produce boilers worth 10,000 MW. Ancillaries of BHEL, who fabricate material for the PSU, are literally gasping with plentiful orders. But BHEL is an old story. Look who else is coming in.

Toshiba has set up a joint venture with the JSW group (part of the O.P. Jindal Group and controlled by Mr Sajjan Jindal) to set up manufacturing facilities to produce turbines. The Rs 800-crore facility is coming up near Chennai. Toshiba holds 75 per cent stake in the joint venture and is among the larges Japanese investments in the State.

Ansaldo of Italy – a respected name in the thermal plant boiler business and now owned by Gammon India – has chosen to set up shop at Tiruchi to produce boilers. Initially, it intends to invest around Rs 150 crore, at which level of investments it would outsource heavily.

Ansaldo's group company and turbine manufacturer, Franco Tosi, is also looking at putting up a plant in Tamil Nadu.

Informed sources say that the company is looking at Chennai (port facilities) or Tiruchi (proximity to Ansaldo's plant) and would choose one of the two locations for establishing a manufacturing unit here.

Also many Indian companies have recently expanded capacities. Cethar Vessels, which has signed up joint ventures with Riley Power of the US for boilers and Power Machines of Russia for turbines, is a good example.

Next to BHEL, Cethar's is the biggest boiler manufacturing facility in the country – 8,000 MW – and the company is looking to raising its capacity further to 12,000 MW.

Also in Tiruchi, companies such as GB Engineering and Veesons are expanding, together making Tamil Nadu, a power equipment hub.

Construction equipment

Tamil Nadu has also emerged a large ‘construction equipment' hub. Caterpillar, which took over the construction equipment business of Hindustan Motors about a decade back, recently announced fresh investments of $200 million to raise its capacity. Its plant is at Tiruvallur, near Chennai.

As part of its strategic plan to increase its manufacturing footprint in the rapidly growing Asia-Pacific region Caterpillar will invest to significantly increase production for off-highway trucks made at its facility near Chennai. These trucks are used for coal and other mining applications in India. The company also plans to expand engine production at its facility in Hosur, adding production of the Caterpillar 3508 engine. The 3508 engines will be used primarily in off highway trucks produced by Caterpillar in India.

Then there are two Japanese companies, Komatsu and Kobelco. About three years ago, Komatsu put down Rs 75 crore to create a plant at Oragadam near Chennai to produce a range of off-high dump trucks. Kobelco expects to start production from January 2011, with an initial capacity of 1,200 units a year.
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