INTERVIEW – Bosnia’s Turbina IPD Seeks Partners for Production of Vertical Axis Wind Turbines
BANJA LUKA (Bosnia and Herzegovina), December 11 (SeeNews) – Bosnia’s Turbina IPD is seeking strategic partners which will finance the production of its patent vertical axis wind turbine, CEO Miroslav Tesic said.
The small family firm has agreed deals for test installations of this type of wind turbines with Telekom Slovenije and is in negotiations with an unnamed Canadian company that produces equipment for telecoms. It also cooperates with Slovenia’s Sitel in the development of generators, remote monitoring of wind turbines, and testing.
“Here in Bosnia we also have trial installations. People from all over the world are calling us because, basically, we already have a finished product,” Tesic told SeeNews over the phone. Turbina IPD is based in the town of Kotor Varos, in northern Bosnia.
“This wind turbine is noiseless, makes no vibrations, uses the wind no matter which direction it blows from, and is safe for birds and people,” he said.
The Tesic family set up the firm in 2006 when they won a World Bank grant of $35,000 (23,713 euro) for their vertical axis wind turbine project. They later found angel investors and now have four different renewable energy patents.
“Our most successful and most important patent is this wind turbine,” Tesic said.
The turbine uses a hybrid system and can be combined with solar panels. It is easy to manufacture with simple and low-cost materials and easy to transport and build up.
Turbina IPD (www.turbina.ba) was one of the 13 firms to enter the 2009 Platts Global Energy Awards finals last week in the Sustainable Technology Innovation of the Year segment.
“Considering the fact that in our category first place was occupied by Public Service Enterprise Group, which has annual revenue of $13 billion, or ten times the budget of Bosnia and Herzegovina, we are more than happy with our achievement,” Tesic said. Ha added around 150 firms competed in their segment.
Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) is a New York-listed diversified energy company headquartered in New Jersey, and one of the 10 largest electric companies in the U.S.
Tesic said they are preparing to launch mass production of the vertical axis wind turbine next year.
“We produce up to 20 kilowatt turbines at the moment because for the time being our budget is not big enough to make larger ones.”
He added the company expects a budget of 2.0 million euro next year.
“We plan to find a venture capital fund, which will be a strategic partner, and there’s already a dozen interested."
Tesic said that many investors are interested in his firm's vertical axis wind turbine because in the European Union 20% of the power supply to telecommunications base stations must come from renewable sources.
“Whether we will work with a firm registered abroad or will list jointly with a Bosnian company on the stock exchange at home, it is all the same to us.”
Turbina IPD is in talks with the government of Bosnia's Serb Republic, which is ready to provide all needed support like manufacturing and office space and some form of financing.
“We are also in negotiations with the World Bank’s IFC who are ready to support us through equity purchase or crediting,” Tesic said.
He sees Turbina IPD reaching an agreement with a strategic partner by the end of January or in early February next year.
Tesic said government subsidies are vital for the existence and development of the renewable energy market in Bosnia and worldwide.
“Return on investment in solar panels is exceptionally small. In the U.S., if you install a 5.0 kilowatt wind turbine, it is paying back as you get a grant from the state.”
Depending on the country, return on investment varies from five to ten years in the U.S. and the European Union, while in the Balkan countries it is 15 or 20 years or more, Tesic said.
“So, without state support and subsidies the renewable energy market cannot survive,” he said.
He added Turbina’s product is easy to install on the roofs of houses and villas but another key challenge is the increasing the awareness of people of the benefits of green technologies. Bosnia lacks green energy legislation but will have to adopt one as part of building closer ties with the European Union.
“Slovenia has a fantastic law,” Tesic said.
Bosnia signed a Stabilisation and Association Agreement, the first formal step towards joining the EU, in June 2008 but since then a lasting political deadlock has stalled reforms designed to prepare the country for membership of the bloc.