Tata Power is on a mission – to fulfil its board’s mandate of 20-25% of power generation from clean energy sources. In order to achieve that, India’s largest power sector company is criss-crossing the country hunting for operating wind and solar assets, Rahul Shah, chief-Business Development, India Business & Renewables, told dna.
“We are looking at acquiring operating assets in wind and solar. There are wind and solar farms that have been set up by other developers. Today, because of stressed market conditions, they don’t want to be in this business any longer and want to exit, so we are evaluating some such opportunities,” Shah said.
Tata Power is speaking to various players, but Shah denied to let out more. He said a new wind farm could cost nearly Rs 6 crore per mega watt (mw) whereas a new solar plant would carry a tag of Rs 8 crore per mw. If the plant is older, it may fetch less.
“We are looking at solar assets ranging from 5 mw to 25 mw, difficult to say which one we will finally close. It depends on the quality of the project. I would not say we are limited by the budget. If we get a good opportunity, we will find money to invest,” Shah said.
Tata Power runs a wind plant network with a combined capacity of 400 mw spread across five states of Maharashtra, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Rajasthan. A new facility with 180 mw is in the works, of which 50 mw is expected to be commissioned this year.
The Tata Group company has close to 30 mw of solar capacity, including a 25 mw unit in Gujarat and 3 mw photo-voltaic plant at Mulshi in Maharashtra. It’s currently constructing a 29 mw solar plant in Satara, which is likely to go on stream in the current financial year.
The company is looking to add 150-200 mw wind and 30-50 mw of solar power every year.
On initial public offer plans, Shah revealed, “We will have an IPO when we have a critical mass of renewable assets. It may not come next year. The critical mass would be somewhere around 400-500 mw capacity.”
At a time when the power sector is bogged down by several bureaucratic hurdles and unavailability of coal, an accentuated focus on renewable energy comes as a breath of fresh air. “If the government has to encourage renewables, it must enable them and not control,” Shah said, tongue firmly in cheek.