CHINA IN INDIA POWER { 99 images } Created 21 Feb 2010

India is racing to boost electricity production to overcome severe shortages and meet growing demand. In the process, it has become dependent on an unlikely power source: Regional rival and frequent antagonist, China.

Indian companies need lots of equipment to meet the government’s goal of increasing electricity output by 60% over five years. The country’s main power equipment supplier, national champion BHEL, doesn’t have enough manufacturing capacity to handle new orders. U.S. and European companies are too expensive.

Enter Chinese contractors. Their equipment, from turbines to boilers, is affordable. They have plenty of experience on coal-fired plants, India’s main source of power. And they have a track record of generating 100,000 megawatts of power per year, about 20 times as much as India. The arrangement also works out for the Chinese manufacturers. After years of turning on the lights in China, they’re looking to sell excess capacity, and India is a huge market.

Indian power companies have handed out dozens of major contracts to Chinese firms since 2008. Some have built elaborate Chinatowns to accommodate hundreds of Chinese workers, complete with Chinese chefs, ping pong tables and Chinese television. Chinese companies now supply equipment for about 25% of the 80,000 megawatts in new capacity that India is bringing online, according to the Indian government, up from almost nothing a few years ago.
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