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Coal Shortage Pushes Hindustan Power to Green Energy

Coal India is also finding it difficult to meet its fuel requirements from domestic resources.

Faced with delays in fuel linkages for coal-fired plants, Hindustan Power Projects, formerly Moser Baer Projects, has taken to green power to bring the next wave of growth. It plans to invest close to $3 billion over the next three years to enhance its solar portfolio from about 350 mw presently to around 1000 mw by FY 17. The company is also set to expand its presence in overseas markets with solar power projects in Japan.

“Solar power has several advantages over power plants using any other fuel. It is not only a clean source of energy, but also has a stabilising effect on the grid. With power cost from these plants coming down to Rs 6-7 per unit, we want to spread our presence in this segment through distributed solar power generation reaching a capacity of 1000 MW in three years’ time,” HPPPL chairman Ratul Puri told FE.

He agreed that coal-based plants were facing a lot of issues in terms of acquisition of land and fuel linkages, leading to delays in projects and higher costs.

Coal India is also finding it difficult to meet its fuel requirements from domestic resources.

HPPPL has two coal-based power projects — a 2,520 MW project in Madhya Pradesh and a 1,320 MW project in Chhattisgarh. These projects are expected to start getting commissioned later this year in phases. “beyond these two assets, right now our focus will be on renewables,” Puri said.

Besides, the company has also started work on two hydro power projects in Himachal Pradesh.

Cumulatively the company has invested close to R14,500 on projects in solar, thermal and hydropower since its inception in 2008. A major chunk (about R5,500 crore) of this investment has already gone to the solar segment, with the company having an existing capacity of about 350 MW and 100 MW of projects getting onstream in coming months. The projects are located across multiple states in India and in overseas markets such as Germany, the UK and Italy. It now plans to enter the Japanese market with its solar projects.

In 2010-end, the company got a R1,400-crore investment from private equity player Blackstone. Puri said that cash flows from several projects have started, so it would not need any additional equity investment, but it would consider listing of the holding company at a later date to provide more liquidity to investors.

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