Tata Power to invest $1 Billion in wind energy by 2017

Ratan Tata-led Tata Power aims to have at least a 25 per cent of its power generation or around 8,000 MW from clean sources by 2017 and will invest around Rs 5,000 crore in wind power alone.

"We have set ourselves a target to achieve 25 per cent of our total generation from clean sources by 2017. These will comprise wind turbines, solar power, hydro, geothermal and gas. In wind power alone, we will be investing around Rs 5,000 crore," Tata Power’s executive director-strategy & business development, Banmali Agrawala, said in Mumbai.

The company, which presently has a little over 200 MW of wind farm capacity, plans to give a strong thrust to wind energy as "it is the most commercially viable and established form of renewable energy," he said.

The company is presently in the process of rolling-out 150 MW and an additional 750-800 MW will be added at the rate of around 100-150 MW annually through to 2017.

It costs around Rs six crore for generating 1 MW of wind-power presently, Agrawala said. In solar energy, the company aims to have 300-400 MW capacity by 2017. The first steps will be taken by end-this year with the commissioning of a 3 MW plant at Mulshi in Maharashtra, he said.

Tata Power is also all set to sign a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the Gujarat Government for a 25 MW plant to be commissioned by end-2011.

"This plant will be set up in Mithapur on land owned by Tata Chemicals and we hope to sign the PPA by end-this month," Agrawala said.

In geothermal, Tata Power is already engaged in a 240 MW project in Indonesia in a joint venture with Origin of Australia, which it plans to commission in five-years. Tata Power and Origin hold a 47.5 per cent stake each with the balance held by a local company.

"We are eyeing another 600-700 MW in Indonesia and also other markets with a good geothermal potential by 2017. Apart from Indonesia which lends itself to geo-thermal, we feel there is a great potential in Africa and we plan to scout for assets there as well," Agrawala said.

It costs around $3.5 million to generate 1 MW of power (geothermal) and while Agrawala would not give any investment figure, going by the above, it could entail a total investment of between Rs 8,500-9,000 crore for the 600-700 MW.

"We would like to work with our partner, Origin, not only in Indonesia but also in other markets as well," he said.

For gas-based power, Tata Power has applied for gas allocation, he said, adding that the company possesses the expertise in this field and has also zeroed-in on potential sites. "We are presently fine-tuning our plans here," he said.

Pricing of gas is still an issue and there needs to be a greater clarity on policies. Once these issues are sorted out, we will go full-steam ahead on gas," Agrawala said.

On hydro, in which the Tata Group has been present for nearly a century, the company is contemplating bidding for a clutch of projects in Himachal Pradesh, Tata Power’s Executive Director-Operations, S Padmanabhan, said.

Tata Power, which now has a capacity of 447 MW in hydro, is presently engaged in constructing a 114 MW plant in Bhutan in a joint venture with the Bhutanese Government. It is also developing an 800 MW plant in Nepal in a joint venture with Norway’s SN Power .