Tata Power sees no tangible domestic biz

Last Updated: Sun, Jan 20, 2013 06:39 hrs

With no "tangible business opportunities" in India, the country's largest power producer Tata Power is actively pursuing overseas avenues especially in Africa, Middle East, Turkey and South East Asia.

Tata Power Managing Director Anil Sardana in an interview to PTI also emphasised that international opportunities seem to be moving faster than domestic activities.

His comments come at a time when the domestic power sector is grappling with multiple woes, including acute fuel scarcity and poor financial health of electricity distribution companies (discoms).

"At this stage, we are not looking for any tangible business opportunities in India. I don't see anything moving on the fuel side (or) project side," Sardana said.

Tata Power, with an installed generation capacity of 6,899 MW, is also developing the import coal-fired 4,000 MW Mundra plant in Gujarat -- India's first ultra mega power project.

Stressing that there is "nothing tangible" to talk about new projects in the country, Sardana wondered where are the requisite clearances.

"If you see from our perspective, we can do 2x660 MW at Maithon (Maharashtra) tomorrow, 2x800 MW at Mundra tomorrow, 2x660 MW related to Mandakini coal mines (in Orissa) tomorrow and 2x660 MW related to Tubed coal mines (in Jharkhand) tomorrow.

"We can do all these tomorrow and investment can start tomorrow. But where are the clearances, where is the fuel?," Sardana noted.

Amid rising imported coal prices making the Mundra project financially unviable, Tata Power has approached the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) seeking higher tariff.

On the other hand, the Tata Power chief sounded bullish on international opportunities and noted that efforts overseas are progressing.

"We are making serious strides in our international opportunities. Africa is moving fast, Middle East and Turkey are moving fast, South East Asian region are moving fast," Sardana said.

According to him, the company has prioritised seven countries, that includes South Africa and other Sub-Saharan Africa countries, Indonesia, Vietnam, Turkey and Middle-East.

Without providing any time frame, he said that mainly projects would be in the power generation space.

"International opportunities seem to be moving faster... We will soon announce more projects in Africa," he added.

At present, Tata Power is working on projects in Indonesia, Bhutan, South Africa, Nepal and Australia, among others.

In South Africa, the company's joint venture with Exxaro Resources -- Cennergi (Pty) Ltd -- is currently focusing on renewable energy and aims to have a balanced portfolio of generation assets. Cennergi has emerged as preferred bidder for 139 MW Amakhala and 95 MW Tsitsikamma wind projects.

Tata Power's Indonesia presence includes 30 per cent equity stakes in two major thermal coal producers -- PT Kaltim Prima Coal and PT Arutmin Indonesia, and a related trading company owned by PT Bumi.

By 2020, Tata Power expects to have a generation capacity of 26,000 MW.

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