At a time when clean energy is gaining momentum globally with countries focusing on environment friendly measures to meet their energy demands, wind and solar energy players are competing neck and neck to grab the larger pie of the clean energy business. Speaking to BusinessLine Marc De Jong, CEO, LM Wind Power – a Danish company in Wind Blades making, explained that after the India expansion recently, the company would now look at global expansion to tap the emerging wind energy markets in Europe, China and North America. Edited excerpts:
After the completion of India capacity expansion at Halol, what is your global expansion plan?Wind energy business is growing fast. With Halol expansion we have total 1.6 Gw per annum of installed capacity in India as on 2016 and the capacity is already booked. Apart from India, we are also expanding in all major regions, where renewable energy focus is concentrated like Brazil, North America and Europe. In Europe it is offshore market that is likely to takeoff. Also, China has significant growth potential. We are not opening new plants there but we are expanding the three plants that we currently have in China.
What is the overall investment outlay you have planned for this year in these regions?Overall we aim to grow by more than 20 per cent annually. And the investment that will be made will be more than EUR 100 million in all these regions towards partly capacity addition, but mostly to add new technology.
How far the technological improvement has enhanced energy generation and reduced costs?We clearly see that going forward in order to make wind even more cost competitive, investments in technology would be extremely important and are a major contributor to reducing the cost of electricity in coming time. In past 25 years, wing size has increased from 14 meters to 60 meters, subsequently efficiency increased from 75 kW per hour to 2000 kW per hour now. The costs have significantly come down from Rs. 15 per kW per hour about 25 years ago to Rs. 5 per kW now.
How do you compare other regions with India with regard to proactiveness from governments and private agencies to implement renewable energy projects?China is the country that is more structured and significantly invested in making wind attractive to investment. In last 10 years, it has emerged as world’s largest market with 30 Gw annual capacity or almost half of the world market. I think that India is moving in a fast growth pace; in the coming decade, India will be a strong market of for wind. And I hope that Indian government together with IPP find measures to make long term wind generation one of the major sources of competitive clean energy like China has done over the last 10 years.
Solar and wind both have their respective attractions but is solar a competition to wind?Definitely solar is a competition. We need to make sure that we stay ahead of solar costs, and at the same time we need to have multiple sources in the energy mix. So we can’t only have wind or only solar. Among the hydro, solar, wind, biomass, today hydro is typically the most competitive but it is available only at a few locations and takes long time to be built. Wind is the next most economical solution. Clearly over the last decade, solar has been trying to catch up. Its not yet fully there. We are determined to stay ahead of Solar and absolutely confident that solar people will be doing same to beat wind. This is a healthy competition to make sure that both of us (wind and solar industries) will beat the fossil fuels. Indian government has done well in quite some projects. It brings together wind and solar, so during the day you have a lot of sun but when in the night time when there is no sun, you have wind. So there needs to be a combination of these two.
Source: Business Line