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The $3 billion Riyadh-headquartered Alfanar Group is making a major foray into India’s renewable energy sector, looking to raise $200 million for investments, half of which will be its own funds
The company plans to bid in auctions planned by the Indian government and expand its portfolio of projects in the sector. Renewable energy auctions have attracted many foreign firms, which have bid aggressively and bagged projects.
“We want to set up 2000 MW by 2021,” said Mohammed Irfan, director-Indian operations at Alfanar Energy. “Half of it will be in wind energy, and the other half in solar.”
So far Alfanar Energy, which entered India in 2016, has commissioned only a single 50 MW wind project in Gujarat with turbines provided by Suzlon. It also won 300 MW at the 2000-MW wind auction conducted by Solar Corporation of India (SECI) in February this year – this project too is being set up in Bhuj, Gujarat.
“We plan to participate in forthcoming auctions of SECI and NTPC, as well those of Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu,” said Irfan. “We have already identified large land sites in windy areas in these states and signed agreements with some of the landowners. We are unlikely to bid in auctions of other states as in our view they do not have a good enough project pipeline. For the time being, we will focus on wind projects, because of the uncertainty around the imposition of safeguard duty on imported solar products, but once that is resolved, we want to move into solar as well.”
The company currently has renewable energy – mainly wind – projects in Spain, Egypt and Bangladesh adding up to a total of 1400 MW.
Renewable energy is only one of the many verticals of the group, which is also engaged in building energy infrastructure (power plants and transmission lines), manufacturing a range of electrical equipment, and in design engineering. It also has an R&D hub in India, Alfanar Engineering Services India Ltd, since 2008-09, while its affiliate company, DAR Engineering, runs an architecture design studio in Chennai. In March 2017, Alfanar Electric also acquired the automation business of Crompton Greaves in India for around Rs 845 crore.
“India is a large market,” said Irfan. “We are looking at more than renewable energy here. We also want to enter the EPC transmission and distribution business. Power Grid Corporation of India recently announced it is going to do Rs 17,000 crore worth of upgrades in grid infrastructure. We want to take up projects for setting up 400 kw transmission lines.”
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