Indian Aluminium Maker Announces 100 MW Wind Energy Project Days After Its Coal Mine Is Cancelled

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Indian government-owned companies seem to have embarked on a hyperdrive to implement renewable energy projects. The aggressive capacity addition plans are reportedly backed by the central government, which aims to boost the existing renewable energy policies. Just last month, Coal India Limited, the world’s largest coal mining company, announced that it is planning to invest $1.2 billion in solar power projects.

National Aluminium Company India
One of the integrated aluminium production facilities of NALCO

The latest public sector company to join the renewable energy bandwagon is National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO). The company, one of the largest aluminium production companies in the world, has announced fresh plans to install a 100 MW wind energy project, and is scouting land for the same. The new project would require an investment of Rs 660 crore ($110 million US).

It is interesting to note that the 214 coal mines cancelled by the Supreme Court of India last month included one owned by NALCO. NALCO is among the largest captive power generators in the country, with a capacity of 1,200 MW, and is believed to have been prepping the coal mine to power its smelter plants.

The plan to install a wind energy project was announced within days of the Supreme Court decision;the chairman revealed the plan during the company’s 33rd annual general meeting held late last month. The company also announced that it will install a 14 MW wind energy project in the mined-out area of its bauxite mines in the western state of Odisha.

Being one of the largest captive power generators in the country, the company faces a huge renewable purchase obligation (RPO). While the RPO implementation and compliance is quite lax in the country, at the very least, the company may face heat as it is among the few profit-making public sector companies, and has no reason to justify potential non-compliance.

The company has taken measures to enhance its renewable energy capacity, and has two wind energy projects with aggregate capacity of 98 MW operational. It is also looking for land to set up solar power projects.

But coal remains central to NALCO’s energy agenda, quite understandably. The company is now scouting for coal mines in other countries, including Iran, Qatar and Indonesia.

Image credit: NALCO

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Mridul Chadha

Mridul currently works as Head-News & Data at Climate Connect Limited, a market research and analytics firm in the renewable energy and carbon markets domain. He earned his Master’s in Technology degree from The Energy & Resources Institute in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Mridul has a keen interest in renewable energy sector in India and emerging carbon markets like China and Australia.

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