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Ushdev May Seek India Wind Farm Acquisitions to Boost Capacity

The clean-energy unit of Ushdev International Ltd. (UTF), India’s third-largest non-state metal trader, may seek to acquire wind farms to boost its capacity 10- fold by 2014.

Ushdev Power Holdings Pvt. plans to invest 18 billion rupees ($400 million) to add 100 megawatts of wind energy capacity annually over the next three years, Arvind Prasad, managing director of the unit, said in an interview in Mumbai.

By 2018, Ushdev Power may seek to build as much as 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity, roughly equivalent to one nuclear plant, which could also include solar, hydropower and biomass plants, he said.

“We’re open to both greenfield projects and also looking at existing wind farms,” Prasad said.

India’s fragmented wind sector may undergo some consolidation as companies look to build scale, Adam Forsyth, a partner at London-based investment bank Matrix Group Ltd., said on June 1. Indian Energy Ltd. (IEL), a London-listed operator of wind farms backed by Lloyds Banking Group Plc (LLOY), said on June 1 it would sell its projects in the South Asian nation if talks with a potential investor fell through.

Mumbai-based Ushdev Power currently owns 30.5 megawatts of wind farms in six different states that use turbines made by Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems A/S, as well as Germany’s Enercon GmbH and Kenersys GmbH, Prasad said.

The parent company is India’s largest, private trader of metals by revenue after Surana Corp. and Adani Enterprises Ltd., according to data from Capital Market magazine. It incorporated its wind unit last year, Prasad said.

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Johnson Controls May Seek to Build Solar-Power Plants in India

Johnson Controls Inc. (JCI), a U.S. developer of energy-saving technology and hybrid car batteries, may seek to enter India’s solar industry as a plant contractor.

“We think there’s a tremendous opportunity” to engineer, build and operate plants for project developers, Pramoda Karkal, managing director at Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based company’s Indian unit, said in an interview in Mumbai.

India has awarded licenses to build at least 1,100 megawatts of solar capacity by next January, roughly equivalent to one new nuclear power plant and about 30 times what exists today. Companies are racing to line up financing and contractors for projects to meet their deadlines.

Within 20 years, India’s solar sector could create a $50 billion market and rival China’s, Karkal estimated.

“There are thousands and thousands of remote villages in India without a connection to the electricity grid,” he said. “Rather than laying miles of copper lines, it’s cheaper to build a solar plant. That’s why solar will take off quickly here.”

Johnson Controls had global sales of $12.8 billion last year installing equipment and controls for air-conditioning, heating, refrigeration and other processes that allow buildings to reduce energy consumption. The systems it has installed since 2000 have saved $7.5 billion in operating costs, the company estimates.

India is trying to pass legislation that would restrict the energy consumed by commercial buildings. If successful, that could create a $500 million market within five years for services in Asia’s third-largest energy consumer, Karkal said.

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