Greenko to Install Bigger Wind Turbines in India to Rival Coal

Greenko Group Plc, an Indian wind-farm developer, plans to install bigger turbines as the cost of the nation’s projects fall below the price of coal-fired energy.

Greenko is in “advanced” discussions with a supplier of machines with diameters and towers of 100 meters (328 feet), Mark Thompson, corporate finance director, said in an interview, declining to name the company. The company previously ordered 80-meter diameter General Electric Co. turbines, he said.

Larger turbines are more efficient at India’s lower wind speeds, moving the cost of generation closer to that of coal. A shortage of fossil fuel used in thermal power plants has led to price increases, spurring India to grant incentives for wind and solar in an effort to end blackouts that stifle economic growth.

“We’re now being driven by supply and demand, and the fact that the Indian economy is still growing, and there’s a big shortage of power,” Thompson said. “I don’t think the market really appreciates the scale of the renewable opportunity, the scale of the demand for power, or the economics behind it.”

The cheapest bids to supply long-term round-the-clock coal power are about 5.5 rupees (10 cents) a kilowatt-hour in Uttar Pradesh in northern India, he said. “We’re selling in places wind power at 4.7 and hydro at 3 and a half. In all the states we’re in our power is at or better than grid parity.”

The Hyderabad-based company may install bigger machines at projects in Rajasthan to reach a goal of operating 2 gigawatts of renewable power facilities including hydropower by 2018, compared with 309 megawatts currently, according to Thompson.

Greenko’s current agreement with GE covers a minimum of 200 turbines with 320 megawatts of capacity. That’s in addition to 41 machines made by the Fairfield, Connecticut-based company and installed at the Indian developer’s first wind farm.

Greenko in March said Government of Singapore Investment Corp., a sovereign wealth fund, would invest 100 million pounds ($154 million) in the company, helping finance 425 megawatts of run-of-river hydropower in Himachal Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh.