By: Smiti Mittal
India’s largest wind energy equipment maker is continuing with efforts to take full advantage of the changing regulatory and financial environment in the country.
The company has announced a fresh plan to invest $3.7 billion to develop 3 GW wind energy capacity in Gujarat. The announcement was made by the company Chairman Tulsi Tanti at the Vibrant Gujarat Global investors summit.
The planned 3 GW capacity will include 2 GW onshore wind energy capacity, 500 MW offshore wind energy capacity (possibly the first offshore wind energy project in India), and 500 MW solar power capacity.
The company plans to market its wind and solar energy projects to industries which are looking to purchase electricity from the open market and at competitive rates.
Suzlon Energy remains that biggest integrated wind energy player in the Indian market, and earlier this year announced their intentions to enter the solar power market using the same model as it has adopted for the wind energy market.
The company had announced similar investment plan for the state of Madhya Pradesh earlier this year. It plans to invest $2.5 billion over the next few years to develop 2 GW wind energy capacity.
The company had been grappling with severe debt-related problems over the last few years, but is now optimistic about the future. The Indian government has re-introduced incentives to the wind energy sector and has increased the capacity addition targets.
The company currently has $1.2 billion of debt on its books, but plans to reduce it by half by March this year. Through an elaborate corporate debt restructuring exercise the company hopes to become debt-free over the next three years.
The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy now eyes 10 GW wind energy capacity addition every year over the next five years. During its best years the Indian wind energy market saw about 3 GW added annually.
Suzlon Energy currently operates a wind energy portfolio of 8.5 GW which is equivalent to 37% of India’s total wind energy capacity and 25% of India’s total renewable energy capacity.