Windfall for Tamil Nadu power equipment makers

September 18th, 2011 - 4:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Sep 18 (IANS) It is boom time for Tamil Nadu-based power equipment manufacturers as they have bagged orders worth a whopping Rs.17,120 crore ($3.6 billion) for boilers, steam turbines and generators in one stroke from power generation major NTPC.

The total value of equipment that was tendered out by NTPC is around Rs.18,720 crore. While the lion’s share has gone to Tamil Nadu firms, the rest has been bagged by the BHEL unit in Haridwar.

And some more mega orders are expected once the Supreme Court resolves a case involving NTPC’s another mega tender — 11 units of boilers, steam turbines and generators of 660 MW capacity.

“Tamil Nadu is not only an auto hub, it is also the hub for heavy precision engineering,” Itaru Ishibashi, managing director of Toshiba JSW Turbine and Generator Pvt. Ltd., told IANS.

“It is boom time especially for boiler vendors as this is one bulk order,” said A.V. Krishnan, executive director at Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) and heading the company’s boiler plant at Tiruchirapalli, around 320 km from here.

One of Asia’s largest power generating firms, NTPC recently opened the price bids for its 9×800 MW tender for supercritical boilers, turbines and generators.

Chennai-based BGR Energy Systems Ltd Thursday announced that its bid price is the lowest for the turbines and generators and would get an order worth around Rs.3,600 crore.

As per NTPC’s tender condition, the lowest bidder will get an order to supply five units and the balance four will be divided equally between BHEL and the second lowest bidder. However, both BHEL and the second lowest bidder have to match BGR Energy’s rate.

Ishibashi told IANS: “Toshiba JSW is the second lowest bidder and we will get a minimum of two units. However, we are waiting for official communication from NTPC.”

South Korean giant Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction Company, having a boiler plant on the outskirts of Chennai, will supply five out of the nine 800 MW supercritical boilers (order value around Rs.6,400 crore).

BHEL will supply the balance four boilers valued at around Rs.5,120 crore out of its plant in Tiruchirapalli.

However, it is going to be a challenging time for the companies as they have to find human resources and overcome the infrastructural bottlenecks, industry players say.

“Developing vendors for the fabrication job for boilers and human resource is going to be a major challenge for the winning bidders. Fabricating supercritical boilers is not easy,” A. Manjunath, power sector consultant and former managing director of Ansaldo Caldaie Boilers India, told IANS.

Agreeing with him, BHEL’s Krishnan said: “The need for manpower will surely go up. Further, vendors are loaded with jobs. And boiler structural jobs may be distributed to several units spread across the country.”

But Toshiba JSW’s Ishibashi does not feel there will be any immediate pressure on his company on the human resources front even though BGR Energy is setting up a turbine, generator and boiler plant in partnership with Japanese company Hitachi near Madurantakam, around 80 km from here.

“Human resources will be a challenge as our talent is not easy to get. Our product demands precision fabrication which needs skill. We spend lot of time on training our workers,” Ishibashi said.

According to him, physical infrastructure like roads, bridges while transporting the heavy turbine and generators is another challenge that has to be addressed by the state government.

“While turbines can be dismantled and transported by road, the same cannot be done in respect of generators that weigh around 450 tonnes. If you take into account the weight of a special trailer to carry the generator, then the bridges and roads should be able to take a load of around 500 tonnes,” Ishibashi said.

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