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NEPC hopes to profit from favourable wind

M. Ramesh

Chennai , July 17

NEPC India expects to make profits this year, thanks to the boom in the wind energy sector.

With orders for 127 wind energy generators currently under execution, and 211 more under `almost booked' category, the current year's turnover is expected to be around Rs 200 crore, only from domestic sales, said the company's Vice-Chairman, Mr Raj Kumar Khemka. Last year, the company achieved a turnover of Rs 18.32 crore.

The recently-incorporated joint venture in Kazakhsthan (called Turkesthanenergo-NEPC), which is expected to put up a 100 MW wind farm in the former Soviet Union, is expected to generate export orders, Mr Khemka told Business Line recently. Another joint venture, in Tanzania, is in the process of being set up.

Of the order of 127 generators, 126 were "repeat orders". NEPC's USP lay in the simplicity of technology, proven track record with over 1,500 "standing examples" of windmills, and availability of spares.

NEPC India (formerly, NEPC Micon, whose Danish collaborator is now in India on its own as NEG Micon) specialises in the manufacture of smaller capacity machines, of 225-250 kva. Many other manufacturers, such as NEG Micon, Suzlon and Enercon, are marketing higher capacity machines, of even up to 1.25 MW. But according to Mr Khemka, it does not make much sense in putting up higher capacity machines, in a country such as India, where the wind density is not high. "Our cost per unit of generation is much lower than our competitors," he said.

This view has the support of some customers. Mr C.M. Sambasivam, Head - Operations, Alfin Wind Energy (a subsidiary of Ashok Leyland Finance Ltd) said, "the problem with large capacity machines is, if one machine fails a lot of generating capacity is lost. With smaller machines, we are able to spread the risk of failure". Alfin Wind Energy is in the process of developing a Rs 60-crore wind farm of 82 wind mills, and has chosen to go in for NEPC machines.

NEPC India has a capacity to produce up to 800 wind energy generators (three shift basis) at its plant in Ambattur, here. Mr Khemka said that apart from the boom in the wind energy sector — driven by companies who see this as a good investment option — the current year's order book has been nourished by a lot of orders getting shifted from last year to this year. Last year, the company sold 20 machines against 47 in the year before and 50 in 2000-01. The current year's `127 plus' business is expected to turnaround the company.

In 2002, NEPC India made a pre-tax loss of Rs 18.71 crore compared to Rs 18.23 crore in 2001-02, Rs 16.03 crore in 2000-01 and Rs 63.51 crore in 1999-2000. While it has on its books a total accumulated loss of Rs 100 crore, Mr Khemka said that the company is "decisively back on the path of progress".

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NEPC hopes to profit from favourable wind

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