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Intense competition from Chinese power equipment makers has got the best out of Bharat Heavy Electricals (BHEL). The company has launched a new range of products designed to counter the Chinese threat. The new series is not only in harmony with the policy intent to keep the carbon intensity of India's growth regulated, but is also priced competitively.
The series includes equipment sets of 600 MW that could match up to Chinese super critical sets of 660 MW without any additional cost to buyers. Similarly, BHEL has introduced equipment that has enhanced rating of 500 MW sets to 525 MW and 250 MW to 270 MW, and a new category of 490 MW set and another 150 MW size equipment needed for small power projects.
Most of the new equipment is in sub-critical range where the company has seen maximum competition in the past, especially from Chinese gear. In the super-critical segment, BHEL has started offering a new equipment range of 700 MW.
"The new range of equipment has given BHEL an edge over Chinese goods as they not only offer higher efficiency but also bring down the per MW cost for buyers. Our new 600 MW sets have been sold like hot cakes with orders for close 20-25 sets, the highest for the category in last few years," BHEL chairman and managing director B Prasada Rao said.
Jindal Power, which had earlier ordered Chinese gear for its Raipur plant, has opted for BHEL for its 250 MW set. The company has also ordered four 600 MW sets for its power plant in North Chennai. BSES has also opted for new range of BHEL products and so have a few state power utilities. Companies such as India Bulls, Videocon, Monnet Ispat, Adhunik, Durgapur Power, Sona Power, Hindujas, Visa Power and Avantha have lapped up the new BHEL offering some of them terminating their earlier contracts with Chinese vendors.
The influx of cheap and efficient Chinese equipment has affected the business of BHEL, as out of 54, 964 MW of power generating capacity added in the 11th Five-Year Plan, equipment from Chinese manu ufactures and suppliers accounted for about 18,500 MW or 34%. The contribution of Chinese players towards thermal capacity addition targeted in the 12th plan and beyond has shot up to 42.5%, or 39,570 MW out of the cumulative 93,084 MW. BHEL's share has also declined from 49% in the 11th Plan to 41% in the current plan. Despite, duty on imported equipment, Chinese firms such as Dongfang Electric, Shanghai Electric and Harbin Power are set to further strengthen their presence in Indian market.
"Chinese equipment will continue to make inroads into the Indian market but our companies are now better prepared to handle this competition," said an official of a private sector equipment asking not to be named.
In addition to sub-critical equipment, BHEL has also decided to adopt flexible approach on the development of super-critical equipment, which are environment friendly product that offer higher efficiency. With an eye in future, when use of these products will be mandatory (proposed from 13th Plan onwards), BHEL started offering a new equipment range of 700 MW in this range.
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