NEW DELHI, Dec. 14 (UPI) — A breakthrough deal in climate-change talks in Copenhagen would lead to a sales boost for the wind power industry, says the chief of India’s biggest maker of wind-turbine generators.
Suzlon, based in the Indian city of Pune, could see a ten-fold increase in annual revenues by 2020 with a successful Copenhagen outcome, predicts chief executive Tulsi Tanti.
“With a very strong support of the Copenhagen meeting and a very clear road map from political leaders around the world, I think I can deliver by 2020 a $50 billion size of the business,” Tanti told Bloomberg.
Tanti said that worldwide turbine sales, which have averaged 28 percent over the last decade, will likely increase to 35 percent pending a successful Copenhagen outcome. Even without a Copenhagen deal, Tanti predicts an industry-wide turbine sales increase of 20 percent to 25 percent a year.
The Global Wind Energy Council expects industry growth of 22 percent until 2013.
Suzlon, the third-largest wind-turbine manufacturer in the world, was founded in 1995 with a staff of 20 and has grown to 14,000 people in 21 countries, according to the company’s Web site.
But Suzlon has weathered storms due to the global economic crisis, a high level of company debt and manufacturing problems with its turbines.
For fiscal year ending March 31, 2010, Suzlon is functioning at less than 50 percent of its 4,200 megawatt manufacturing capacity. That’s down about 70 percent to 75 percent from the previous year. The company’s breakeven point is for manufacturing to be running at 40 percent to 45 percent of capacity, Chief Operating Officer Sumant Sinha told The Wall Street Journal.
Now Suzlon is close to pinning down a $2.8 billion refinancing package that would give it permission to acquire the remaining stake in REpower Systems AG, one of the leading turbine producers in the German wind energy sector.
Sinha said last week that Suzlon would file for a “domination agreement” in Germany “probably in a couple of months.” Suzlon currently holds a 92 percent stake in REpower but under German law must buy out the remaining shareholders before exercising full control of the company.
Sinha also said the company has spent about $100 million to retrofit blades that cracked on turbines in the United States and is also making strides in its financial affairs.
India, for its part, has a total wind power installed capacity of 10,900 megawatts and ranks fifth in the world after the United States, Germany, Spain and China.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International