Tuesday, October 13, 2009

India's Suzlon finishes retrofit of wind blades

* Company finishes $100 mln global retrofit
* Says no additional retrofit costs in FY2009-2010
* Sets new benchmarks for blade testing

LOS ANGELES, Oct 12 (Reuters) - Suzlon Energy Ltd (SUZL.BO) said on Monday it had finished a program to retrofit wind power turbine blades that suffered cracking problems, an issue that has weighed on the Indian wind turbine maker's shares.

Suzlon, the No. 5 wind turbine maker globally, launched the $100 million effort last year after some blades on its 2.1 megawatt turbine fleet developed cracks. One blade broke off a turbine in Illinois.

The project "has been a priority effort for us," Andy Cukurs, head of Suzlon's U.S. operations, said in a statement.

While about 180 blades out of 1,251 blades across the fleet showed cracks by the end of the program, the company decided to upgrade the entire fleet.

In addition to the retrofit, the company kicked off a new generation of blades. One of Suzlon's S88 turbines generates enough energy to power about 500 U.S. households.

The company also said it has a new level of blade testing that goes beyond industry standards and does not expect any additional retrofit costs for the 2009-2010 fiscal year. (Reporting by Laura Isensee, editing by Braden Reddall and Andrew Hay).

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