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Suzlon gets nod for first SEZ unit

Ravi Menon  |  Chennai 

Wind power major Suzlon Energy Ltd, which is currently undertaking a major expansion drive in southern India, has been issued a Letter of Approval by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry on Monday.
The LoA sets the stage for the final phase of construction and formal start of operations in the first half of 2008 at the first of a total of five units planned at Suzlon's 250-acre special economic zone (SEZ) facility at Annur in Palladam taluk near Coimbatore.
Suzlon is setting up its vertically integrated multi-facility infrastructure base for manufacturing wind energy generation equipment at the upcoming SEZ. The SEZ is located about 20 km west of Coimbatore, along the L&T bypass road, which links Palladam taluk on the city outskirts with Tirupur.
After completing land acquisition for the facility in June this year, Suzlon had also cleared all state government requirements vis-à-vis physical site inspections, manufacturing standards and water management prerequisites, prior to the LoA being granted for its first unit to commence operations. This facility will manufacture wind electric generator (WEG) blades and controllers using advanced pre-preg technology.
It is learnt that Suzlon has not yet applied for LoAs for the other four proposed units at its Palladam SEZ. The project, with full benefits accorded to it under the SEZ Act of 2004, was given the go-ahead by the Board of Approval of the Ministry of Commerce on October 6 last year.
Suzlon has a strong presence in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, besides states like Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. This year, both Suzlon and Danish rival Vestas RRB have been given technical approval for setting up wind energy projects in Palakkad and Idukki districts of Kerala.
Besides the WEG manufacturing unit, Suzlon's Coimbatore SEZ facility is also expected to house units to manufacture gearboxes, rotor blades as well as a testing facility. Sources said a new Suzlon unit to be set up within an SEZ in Mangalore, would be assigned the task of final WEG and stator assembly, as well as shipping and turnkey project implementation.
Hansen Transmissions, the fully-owned subsidiary of Suzlon Energy, is setting up its gearbox manufacturing plant at the SEZ on 65,000 sqm on an investment of about 170 million euros (Rs 940 crore). This fully-integrated unit is expected to start operations in the fourth quarter of 2008 with over 600 people on its rolls, producing gearboxes for wind turbines configured in the range of 2 Mw to 3 Mw.
The SEZ is planned as an end-to-end facility managing processes all the way from raw material sourcing to final rollout. Once operational, all its five units are expected to provide direct employment to over 3,000 people. All five plants will supply a range of wind energy generation equipment to wind turbine manufacturers and other customers in Indian and international markets, including Suzlon.
Suzlon has over 9,000 employees worldwide, and over 50 per cent share of the domestic wind turbines market. It clocked revenues of Rs 7,986 crore in fiscal 2007. With the company's installed capacity in India touching 1,700 Mw last year, it is keen to boost its engineering and development facilities out of India.

First Published: Wed, September 19 2007. 00:00 IST
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