Bengaluru: Wind equipment makers may be gearing up for a tussle with project developers, as the latter abandon operations and maintenance (O&M) contracts with manufacturers to maintain wind farms themselves, saying they are dissatisfied with the performance of certain equipment makers.

O&M contracts have traditionally been awarded to equipment makers, which can often get a substantial part of revenue from such contracts. Renew Power, the biggest independent power producer (IPP) in the country, has just set up its own O&M unit. The unit hopes to gradually maintain all of its machines – those installed already as well as those to be commissioned in future – on its own. “We have begun doing a few hundred megawatts of O&M ourselves,” said Sumant Sinha, chairman, Renew Power, which has about 4,000 MW of wind energy capacity.

Hero Future Energies, too, is thinking along the same lines. “We will be exploring carrying out our own O&M. It will give us better control over operations. The future will be IPPs entering contracts solely for supply of turbines from the OEMs,” said Sunil Jain, CEO of Hero Future Energies.

Similarly, Sembcorp has exited its O&M contract with Regen Powertech and is maintaining turbines on its own. Although Sembcorp declined to comment on the exit, a company spokesperson said it had done about 600 MW of O&M so far and would continue to expand. Insiders told ET this was because Sembcorp was not happy with Regen’s work.

Regen, though, disputed there was any issue, saying it would restore ties in due course. A number of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are also financially stressed. “In some cases, the OEM itself is falling apart,” said Renew Power’s Sinha. “IPPs have had to take over O&M out of compulsion. In our view, we can ourselves do a better job of maintaining performance than our OEMs.”

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OEMs, however, feel they offer value addition — such as technology upgrades — that wind developers will lack if they were to embark on maintenance on their own.





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