• NTPC plans to become biggest renewable energy company in 10 years

    NTPC, India’s largest electricity generator, is tweaking its expansion plan to become the biggest renewable energy company in the next 10 years. The stateowned company’s Rs 5 lakh crore capital expenditure plan will be skewed towards adding renewable energy capacity instead of setting up more thermal units.

    NTPC has targeted generation capacity of 128,000 megawatts by 2030 from the present level of over 47,000 MW. “Keeping the total capacity addition constant, we are recasting the expansion plan to increase the mix of renewable power capacity and reduce the share of thermal power,” a senior NTPC official said.

    The utility had earlier decided to set up renewable energy capacity of about 10,000 MW in the next four years. This figure is likely to be revised upwards as part of the plan to enhance renewable power generation. Its current renewable energy portfolio consists of nine solar power plants with 360 MW of capacity.

    “Total investment as a result is likely to be Rs 5 lakh crore. Out of the total investment, NTPC will have to shell out a maximum of Rs 1.5 lakh crore as equity for the expansion plan. Rest of the funds are to be financed by long-term debt,” said the official.

    NTPC’s decision to reduce the share of thermal power and increase renewable energy generation is to align itself with global trends of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and developing clean sources of energy. India has set a renewable power deployment target of 175 GW by 2022, which includes 100 GW from solar and 60 GW from wind energy.

    “Over the last few years, large foreign financial institutions have drastically reduced their exposure to coal-fired projects under pressure from green lobbies. At present, procuring foreign loans for renewable energy projects is far easier than thermal power projects. A green power generation company also attracts global equity investors,” a senior analyst said.

    Of the 10,000 MW of renewable energy capacity planned, NTPC has commissioned 250 MW and has started work on developing 3,010 MW of projects. It also plans to set up about 800 MW of solar plants on water reservoirs at thermal power plants. Erik Walden Jersey

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