For its second innings in India, German wind turbine manufacturer Enercon plans to bring in machines that will be the biggest to be sold in the country.

The firm’s Chief Risk Officer, Wolfgang Juilfs, told BusinessLine on Sunday that the company has started offering machines of rated capacity of 3.5MW. It is developing suppliers for the machines, which will come in two versions — one with blades that will sweep a circle of 138 metrrs and the other 126 metres.

The height of the tower on top of which the turbines would be placed will depend upon the site, but it could be as high as 131 metres, in which case the tower will be a hybrid of a concrete structure and tubular steel, Juilfs said.

He said wind energy companies could participate in competitive bids now if the projects need to be commissioned by 2019-20end. Enercon will be ready with its machines by then. These, then, will be the biggest wind turbines to be sold in India.

The Indian market is dominated by machines of a nominal capacity of around 2MW and 120 metre high. The only other company to have a 3MW machine is another German company, Nordex.

Asked if Enercon’s upper-end machine was appropriate for the Indian market, Ralph Tobergte, who looks after Business Development at Enercon, said that since the company was joining a party of entrenched players, it had to do something different. Juilfs said the proposed machines will be competitive.

Indeed, some in the industry believe that big machines could present challenges in terms of logistics.

Enercon GmBH was among the earliest players in the Indian wind market. The company, 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 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.

Wind energy tariff

Juilfs said that Enercon expected wind energy tariffs in India to go up. In the 500 MW Gujarat auctions that happened in December 2017, the least quoted tariff was ₹2.43 a kWhr, by a company backed by the PE fund, Actis.

Some in the industry consider the tariff suicidal and born out of desperation to win orders. Juilfs said that tariffs will go up to around ₹2.70 in the next auctions, and rise further beyond that.