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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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China keeps top spot in Ernst & Young Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices

On May 26th, 2011, Ernst & Young released the latest edition of its global “Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Indices”, which states that China remains by far the most promising location to pursue future renewable energy business opportunities.

The report places the United States in second place and India in third, as well as stating that nations around the world are increasingly broadening the scope of their renewable energy portfolios amid “challenging market conditions”.

“It is clear that the solar sector faces both challenges and growth opportunities,” observes Ernst & Young Global Cleantech Leader Gil Forer. “This is a good time for solar companies to continue to focus on cost reduction efforts, supply chain efficiencies, risk management and capital management.”

China scores high on wind, PV

China has held top position since August 2010, and earned its highest score ever during the quarter. China scored particularly high on its wind index, but also on solar PV.

Ernst & Young states that the China’s latest five-year plan is its “greenest” to date, including a target of 11.3% of primary energy generated by non-fossil fuels by 2015.

Lower incentive levels, restricted access to capital limit wind, solar development

The report also notes a chilling effect that the global financial climate has had on renewable energy markets, noting that some sectors, such as solar, have fared better than wind or biomass.

Ernst & Young states that apart from Brazil, which increased four places, most nations have dropped slightly in scores, as the result of diminishing incentives and restricted access to capital.

CSP, offshore wind providing new opportunities

The United States remained in second place in the report, on the strength of solar CSP, solar PV and onshore wind potential. Ernst & Young states that the nation’s utility scale solar sector remains “healthy”.

The report also notes that the increasing commercial viability of different technologies including offshore wind and concentrated solar power (CSP) provide new opportunities.

Report an assessment of future potential

It is important to note that this report was not an assessment of progress in renewable energy, but rather of future business potential.

For example, the relatively low score of Denmark (#22) represents a restricted grid capacity and reduced tariff levels following installation of the greatest per-capita wind capacities in the world.

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