German wind-turbine major Enercon plans second coming into India

M Ramesh Chennai | Updated on January 12, 2018

German wind turbine major Enercon is all set to ‘come back’ to India, this time on its own. Earlier, Enercon India was a joint venture with the Mumbai-based Mehra family, which ended up in the courts, with each partner accusing the other of wrongdoing.

Even as the final word is yet to be said about the fate of Enercon India, since renamed Wind World (India) Ltd, Enercon GmbH plans to re-enter India.

Many industry sources told BusinessLine that Enercon is working on launching its turbines in India. Enercon GmbH did not reply to an e-mail seeking confirmation.

Sources said that the company has engaged Ralph Tobergte, an India-expert from Germany, to help in its strategy here. Tobergte has been the Managing Director of ThyssenKrupp Engine Components India, Nashik, and the CEO of the automotive sealing systems division of Ruia & Sons, Kolkata.

While Tobergte confirmed his engagement with Enercon to BusinessLine, he said that he was not in a position to confirm the company’s re-entry.

In an e-mailed response, he said he might be in a position to comment on Enercon’s future in India in detail in two-three weeks’ time.

It is also reliably learnt that Enercon is in talks with the Maharashtra-based Ghodawat group. The Ghodawat group, which owns 105 MW of wind assets, was once in talks with China’s Sinovel to let the Chinese company use its facilities to produce its wind turbines, but the proposal did not fructify. It is not clear whether Enercon is trying to do something similar.

However, an industry insider said that it was more likely that Enercon would collaborate with the Ghodawat group for operations and maintenance of its machines in India.

Long history

Enercon GmbH, which was founded and is owned by Aloys Wobben, a wind technologist of global repute, came to India in 1994. For 12 years, Enercon India, the joint venture of Enercon GmbH and the Mehra family, ran smoothly, with Yogesh Mehra as the Managing Director and Enercon machines were ubiquitous in India alongside Vestas, the Danish wind turbine manufacturer.

Trouble broke out between the partners in 2006. There were a number of contentious issues, but primarily the Mehra family accused Enercon GmbH of denying it technology, starving it of components supplies in order to emasculate the Indian arm with a view to take full control.

On its part, Enercon accused the Mehras of stealing technology and siphoning off funds. The legal battle is still on. If Enercon GmbH comes to India, it would be the third German company selling wind machines in India, after Senvion and Nordex. Other global wind majors present in India include Gamesa of Spain, Vestas of Denmark and GE of the US. WEG of Brazil has announced its intention to produce turbines in India, and Chinese company, Envision, is close to doing so.

Fighting for a market share alongside these are home-grown companies Suzlon, ReGen and Inox.

The Indian wind power market is lucrative. In the last 25 years, India set up 31 GW of wind power capacity, including the record 5,400 MW set up in 2016-17. In the current year alone, the government of India plans to auction 6 GW of capacity.

Published on May 28, 2017

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