Greenko eyes boost from India's clean power push

LONDON Wed Jun 1, 2011 9:29am EDT

LONDON (Reuters) - London-listed clean energy producer Greenko is looking for opportunities in India's huge power deficit and the country's plans to beef up its renewable capacity.

India-based Greenko, founded by President Mahesh Kolli and Chief Executive Anil Chalamalasetty in 2006, is targeting an operational capacity of 1 gigawatt (GW) by 2014, nearly five times its current base of 183 megawatts (MW).

"Total power demand in India is about 350 GW, while supply is just about 165 (GW)," Kolli said on Wednesday. "There is a big race to add capacity to reduce the gap."

Earlier on Wednesday, Greenko announced agreements to add a cumulative 650 MW to its windpower portfolio, taking its total wind assets in development past the 1 GW mark. Its total portfolio of operational assets and assets under development, including wind and hydro projects, now stands at 1.63 GW.

Meanwhile, India -- the world's third-biggest greenhouse gas polluter after the United States and China -- aims to add 17 GW of renewable energy over five years starting 2012, and a total of 100 GW of power generation capacity by early 2017.

Kolli said it is easier to add renewable assets in India, as opposed to conventional assets.

"In the last five-year plan, 90 GW (of capacity) was planned, but less than half of that has been built, partly due to fuel supply issues on the coal and gas front and permitting problems," he said.

India currently depends on coal for more than half the electricity consumed by its 1 billion plus population.

That hydro and wind power in India are already at grid parity -- the point when power from a renewable source costs the same as conventional power -- makes the market more attractive.

"In no other country can you have wind and hydro supply at grid parity level," Kolli said. "We are not supplying above the cost of energy in the grid, but below the average cost of energy. By that measure, India is very attractive."

That makes India an excellent market for other players, too, but Kolli is not worried about competition just yet.

"The challenge global utilities will face is that the development process in India is very localized," he said. "For instance, in the wind sector, we spent three years collecting data, and then getting all the permits."

Funding, too, could be a concern for the newer entrants, Kolli said and added that Greenko's entire planned 1 GW platform was fully funded.

Earlier in the day, Greenko said it raised gross proceeds of 50 million pounds ($82.3 million) through a placing.

($1=.6076 Pound)

(Reporting by Adveith Nair; Editing by Will Waterman)