Danish company KK Wind Solutions, which specialises in control systems for wind turbines — electronics that go into controlling the operations of a wind turbine — has entered the Indian market. It will manufacture and sell ‘low voltage ride through’ (LVRT) devices, which are essential for maintaining grid stability.
The company’s CTO-cum-COO, Rene Balle, sees a big opportunity in India because LVRT has been made mandatory. (LVRT are devices that ensure that a wind turbine, or even a wind farm, stays connected to the grid even if there is a short-term (milliseconds) voltage drop. Earlier, it did not matter much if a wind farm went off-grid for some milliseconds, but now, with wind’s contribution to the power in the grid increasing, any disconnection of the generating units from the grid could cause the grid itself to collapse. As such, LVRT has been made mandatory.)
The £200-million KK Wind Solutions’ foray into the Indian market is through a tie-up with Bengaluru-based Enerfra Projects, a company founded by UB Reddy, a wind industry veteran who had earlier worked for Mytrah Energy and Enercon.
More technical staff
The scope of the tie-up has not been disclosed, but it is learnt that Enerfra will do the market development for KK. According to market sources, LVRT costs between ₹8 lakh and ₹12 lakh per MW. The new machines come with LVRT and there is scope to sell the devices to turbine OEMS.
In a chat with BusinessLine at the Windenergy 2017 conference, organised last week by the Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers’ Association, Balle said that KK would add more products in due course, and raise the number of its technical staff in India from 60 to 100.
Field compliance vital
Balle and Reddy stressed the importance of LVRT’s role in grid stability. Balle observed that while India has mandated LVRT for turbines commissioned after April 2014, it has been based on self-declaration. “This won’t work. Independent third party certification and field compliance needs to be ensured,” he said, adding that otherwise the grid will be at risk. He pointed out that “China learned this lesson and did a large LVRT retrofit around 2012.”
Reddy noted that the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission has issued an order mandating LVRT retrofit from January 2018. “This law now needs to be followed through with proper certification and compliance check of actual performance in field,” he said. He added that KK and Enerfra will bring in a standardised LVRT solution that can be fitted onto wind turbine of any make. “We are working towards certification and plan shipments by October,” Reddy said.