India’s largest government-owned gas distribution company has once again expressed its intention to expand its footprint in renewable energy sector.
GAIL India, previously Gas Authority of India Limited, recently announced its ambitions to expand into new areas of operation and expand its existing renewable energy portfolio. The company has some solar and wind energy projects operational. It is now looking to expand that portfolio through organic and inorganic ways.
According to media reports, the company is looking at some possible acquisitions in the renewable energy space. It is not clear if the company is only looking to acquire projects or take stakes in project development companies.
Days before India announced a nationwide lockdown in response to the COVID pandemic, there were media reports that GAIL was in talks with a major solar power developer. The company was said to have started due diligence of Acme Cleantech Solutions.
Acme claims a portfolio of 5.5 gigawatts, including 2.9 gigawatts of operational capacity. The company was considered among the pioneers of the Indian renewable energy sector. However, over the last couple of years it has stayed away from competitive auctions following some aggressive bids. The company has sold a number of its solar power projects, including 600 megawatts to Actis. GAIL was reportedly looking to pick up a 49–74% stake in the company. No major progress has been reported about this transaction since March.
GAIL’s decision to expand its renewable energy footprint is in line with that of several other government-owned companies, and as per directions of the government. India lags behind its mammoth target to achieve 175 gigawatts of operational renewable energy capacity by the end of 2022. The government has thus turned to public sector companies to take aggressive measures in renewable energy sector. Companies and entities like NTPC (India’s largest power producer), Coal India (world’s biggest coal miner), and Indian Railways have all announced aggressive plans to set up large-scale solar and wind energy projects.
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