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Renewable energy ministry eases norms for entry in wind power sector

Economic Times:  November, 2016

New Delhi: In an effort to encourage more wind turbines manufacturers to enter the Indian market, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has done away with a crucial committee which used to approve turbine models before these could be sold.

Henceforth, turbine makers will need to only provide details of their products online to the MNRE to obtain the necessary certification to sell, and if the products satisfy the specifications, they will automatically be included in the ministry's Revised List of Models and Manufacturers (RLMM).

"This has been done to ensure more competition," said Varsha Joshi, former joint secretary, MNRE. "We have made the process of entering the market easier. Products which abide by international standards will get certification without any additional verification." The standards are the relevant ones for turbines set by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), or the DNV GL, another global certification body.

The disbanded committee comprised representatives from the Indian Wind Turbine Manufacturers Association (IWTMA), the Indian Wind Producers Association (IWPA) and the MNRE-affiliated, Chennai-based National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE). Manufacturers had to brief the committee about the particular standards their products conformed to after which the committee would take a decision.

Wind energy developers are delighted with the step. "This is a welcome step by the MNRE to remove non-tariff barriers and reduce the delays manufacturers faced in getting certification," said Sunil Jain, president, Wind Independent Power Producers Association.

An industry source alleged that the committee included a large number of Indian manufacturers who tried to put hurdles in the path of foreign turbine makers trying to enter India. "That's why it has been done away with," he said. "Now developers will have more options to choose from."

IWTMA president DV Giri, however, strongly contested the charge. "The notion that local manufacturers were using the committee to hinder international ones is ridiculous and utterly unfounded," he said. "We have 20 years of technical expertise and were merely using this to ensure reliability and safety of products. But we are ready to see how the online certification method works."

However, as before, overseas turbine makers will still be required to set up a manufacturing facility in India if they wish to sell. Some of them see this too as an entry barrier.

Joshi added that in place of the certification committee, an appellate committee may be set up to settle any disputes that may arise.