Turbine manufacturer Inox Wind said its plants are operating normally, after reports in India that it planned to send workers home at a key factory.
Inox Wind – one of a clutch of domestic manufacturers active in the Indian market – in a letter to labour officials said it could lock employees out of its blade and tower plant at Rohika, Ahmedabad, Indian business media reported. Mumbai's BSE stock exchange asked Inox Wind to clarify the reports.
Inox said its plants “are fully operational and there is no lock out”, describing the letter as a “precautionary measure” to counter the threat of action by some employees at the prompting of external forces.
The manufacturer’s letter to labour officials, quoted by several Indian news outlets and circulated on social media, painted a downbeat picture of the wind sector in India, which it said had a “question mark over its existence” amid a “very tough phase”, citing a familiar litany of problems including the shift to auctions, low power tariffs, grid issues and undersubscribed auctions.
It cited a “dismal” forecast from analysts at BloombergNEF that India would fall 9GW short of its 60GW wind installation target for 2022.
Inox Wind made a 390m rupees ($5.5m) loss for the last financial year ending 31 March, and had an order book of 1.5GW.
The company – which licenses technology from US specialist AMSC – is placing huge emphasis on its development of a 3.3MW turbine to expand its existing 2MW offering. Inox said earlier this year it has a 500MW letter of intent from power group Adani for the 3.3MW machine.
The downbeat contents of the letter are a far cry from Inox’s optimism in 2015, when it staged an IPO to help fund a doubling of production capacity to 1.6GW, and told Recharge it had the wherewithal to be “last man standing” in India’s growing wind market.
Instead, like fellow domestic OEM Suzlon, Inox has struggled in the sputtering market and in the face of ferocious competition from foreign giants such as Siemens Gamesa and Vestas, which have thrown big resources at India as a key potential growth market.
Danish giant Vestas as recently as July announced plans for a new nacelle and hub factory in Chennai, saying it wants to make India a “global hub” for renewable energy production.
Atin Jain, the BloombergNEF associate behind the forecasts quoted by Inox, told Recharge: “Unlike their global peers, Suzlon and Inox Wind have their operations almost exclusively in India. Complete reliance on Indian market for new orders meant that the two companies were particularly hit hard by the temporary slowdown occurring in the Indian wind sector.
“The challenges faced by the Indian OEMs is creating uncertainty in the wind supply chain in the country. This is creating opportunities for global turbine makers like Siemens Gamesa, Vestas, GE and Nordex Acciona,” Jain added.
Note: update adds BNEF comments, Inox response