Indian Utility, CESC, Plans $460 Million Renewable Energy Investment

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CESC Limited, one of the few private sector power supply utilities in India, has announced plans to expand its renewable energy footprint.

Part of the industrial conglomerate RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group, CESC Limited has announced plans to invest around $460 million to expand its renewable energy capacity by 500 MW.

While CESC mainly looks after power supply in the Indian state of West Bengal, the company also operates some power plants. The company owns about 2,450 MW of thermal power projects and around 75 MW of renewable energy projects.

The company now plans to focus on the renewable energy business. Solar and wind energy projects are slated to be commissioned in states like Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Rajasthan, and Madhya Pradesh over the next 6 months, CESC Chairman recently told reporters.

While the power supply company is based solely in West Bengal it has shared no plans for renewable energy capacity addition in the state. West Bengal has historically lagged most Indian states in renewable energy development.

CESC has not made it clear if the projects would be used to meet the renewable purchase obligation (RPO) it has as the supply utility in West Bengal. The company may look to avoid taking the competitive auction route and set up the projects directly and then choose to either sell the power near the generation point or import it into West Bengal to meet the renewable purchase obligation.

Other private sector power supply utilities have tied up with renewable energy projects far away from their service areas in order to meet their RPO. The most recent example of this practice is the power purchase agreement between Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited and SunEdison for the supply of 180 MW solar power from a project located about 800 km away from Delhi.

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