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Orient Green says grid congestion forcing wind farms to stop

An over-congested grid in India’s Tamil Nadu state, which has the nation’s biggest installed wind capacity, is forcing farms to stop generating electricity, Orient Green Power Co. (OGPL) said.

The clean-energy developer, backed by Bessemer Venture Partners, has cut generation at wind farms in the southern state by as much as 15 percent, Chief Financial Officer J. Sivakumar told analysts on a conference call yesterday. Other companies may be suffering greater losses, he said.

The state’s aging power-transmission system is crimping new investment in Tamil Nadu, where 40 percent of wind capacity in India is located. The country is the world’s third-biggest wind market. State authorities have asked wind farms to shut down turbines to avoid destabilizing the grid and have also delayed payments to power producers for electricity sold to cash- strapped state utilities.

Orient Green, which initially planned to build 300 megawatts of wind capacity in the state, has shifted at least 50 percent of that elsewhere “to de-risk this problem of grid availability,” Managing Director P. Krishnakumar said on the call. The company may sell land it bought in the state for wind parks to pay down debt, he said.

Orient Green’s investors include Bessemer Ventures, an early investor in Skype Technologies SA, and Olympus Capital Holdings Asia, according to its website. It operates 398 megawatts of capacity, including 337 megawatts of wind power and 61 megawatts of biomass plants, according to a Nov. 12 statement.