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CHEM Supplies Vodafones Base Station Power in India

Chung-hsin Electric and Machinery Manufacturing Corp (CHEM, 中興電工) has signed a 10-year, US$100 million deal with Vodafone Group PLC to supply electricity for the UK telecom’s base stations in northeastern India, a company executive said yesterday.

“The deal marks significant progress for the company after it entered the Indian market two years ago,” CHEM chief strategy officer and chief operating officer Johnson Sung (宋廉永) told reporters at CHEM’s booth at the Smart Asia Expo & Summit at the White Orchid Convention Center in Bengaluru, India.

The company sees the South Asian nation’s unstable electricity supply as a huge opportunity to expand CHEM’s hydrogen fuel cell power system business, Sung said.

Many telecoms in India have been working on reducing their diesel consumption by setting up small-scale “green” power systems at their cell sites to be in line with the Indian government’s goal to cut the use of diesel and increase the stability of the power supply, Sung said.

CHEM sold 200 hydrogen fuel cells to Vodafone over the past two years, supplying electricity for signal receivers and transmitters on the base stations, he said.

Under yesterday’s agreement, instead of selling power generation equipment to Vodafone, CHEM would lease its hydrogen fuel cell power equipment to Vodafone’s tower infrastructure provider, American Tower Corp, for two five-year terms, Sung said.

CHEM would begin shipping the fuel cells to India next month and is expected to install 3,000 fuel cells within the next two years, he said.

In light of the expanding business in India, CHEM has set up a subsidiary, ME2 Energy System Co, to oversee the operation and maintenance of its fuel cell power systems there, Sung said.

CHEM is also in talks with Indian telecom Bharti Airtel Ltd’s Bharti Infratel Ltd to supply 250 hydrogen fuel cell power systems for the company’s base stations, Sung added.

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