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India’s 39% Plunge in Wind Installations May Spur Mergers

According to reports, wind-turbine suppliers in India may be forced to consolidate amid increasing competition after a policy vacuum prompted a 39 percent plunge in installations in the first half of the financial year.

In the six months ended Sept. 30, turbine makers including Suzlon Energy Ltd. (SUEL) and Vestas Wind Systems A/S (VWS) installed 851 megawatts of wind capacity, down from 1,403 megawatts the previous year, according to provisional numbers from the Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers’ Association in Chennai.

Investors are building fewer farms in the world’s third- largest wind market after two government incentives expired in March. Turbine makers are unlikely to offset the drop in demand with exports as other major markets in China, the U.S. and Europe also slow, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

“Pressure will increase on manufacturers’ margins,” said Shantanu Jaiswal, a New Delhi-based BNEF wind analyst. “The industry may be setting itself up for future consolidation.”

The number of turbine suppliers in India last year almost doubled to 24 from two years earlier amid surging installations, according to IWTMA data. Among the newer entrants are Siva Wind Turbine India Pvt., Chiranjjeevi Wind Energy Ltd. and Inox Wind, which has partnered with American Superconductor Corp. (AMSC) for turbine technology.

Indian installations topped 3,000 megawatts for the first time in 2011, a 138 percent increase in two years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Those investments were driven by a tax benefit called accelerated depreciation and a subsidy known as generation-based incentive, which boosted project returns, helping wind compete with other forms of energy.

The incentives expired on March 31, and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is seeking Cabinet approval for them to be reinstated, according to Joint Secretary Tarun Kapoor.

If the incentives aren’t restored, the industry could struggle to put up 2,000 megawatts by the end of this financial year on March 31, according to BNEF’s Jaiswal.

“We’re assuming it will be reinstated but if it doesn’t, it’ll significantly affect investments,” Sumant Sinha, chief executive officer of ReNew Wind Power Pvt., a developer backed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc., said on Sept. 28. “It’s a real downer for the industry.”

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