Vestas, Siemens Gamesa and LM Wind Power suspended production at plants in India in response to the government lockdown there, as the coronavirus crisis hit output in another of the world’s wind manufacturing hubs.
The Danish wind turbine giant said its blade factory in Ahmedabad and hub and nacelle plant in Chennai are both at a halt in response to 21-day lockdown measures ordered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that took effect this week, as India launched a massive effort to contain the virus.
“Vestas fully respects the Indian government’s increased precautions,” the company said in a statement sent to Recharge.
“We are currently working with both state and federal governments to ensure we can resume safe production and operations when the lockdown is over.” Vestas’ service operation is continuing to operate.
Siemens Gamesa confirmed its factories in India were also affected by the lockdown, while GE-owned LM Wind Power told Recharge: “LM Wind Power’s number one priority is the health and safety of our employees. In light of that and the directive from the Indian government we have temporarily suspended operations in manufacturing facilities at Dabaspet and Vadodara, and employees at our LM Wind Power Technology Center in Bangalore are working remotely.”
A spokeswoman added: “We are working closely with the local governments and the World Health Organization to actively monitor the outbreak and take all necessary precautions.”
India has become the third major centre of global wind power production to feel the crunch from coronavirus, following China – where operations are gradually returning to normal – and Spain, which is still in the eye of the storm.
The three global groups are part of an Indian wind power supply chain that’s geared up to support about 10GW annually but was under-utilised due to a struggling domestic market.
In the early days of the global epidemic when China was the hardest hit, India was swiftly identified as an option to keep operations moving with Chinese factories at a halt, with Siemens Gamesa explicitly stating it would develop the country as an alternative hub.
Analysts at Wood Mackenzie said earlier this week in a note on the Covid-19 outbreak that widespread infection in India could have “far reaching consequences”.
“Most notably, India has been used as the primary alternative to Chinese wind energy component production and an interruption in supply could restrict installations both domestically and abroad in Western markets,” it said.