We take great pride in leading the way in India’s sustainable energy transition at ReNew.
ReNew, the country’s largest renewable energy company, last month said it plans to Rs 44,000 crore by FY26 to add about 10 gigawatt(GW) capacity. Its parent ReNew Energy Global Plc signed an MoU with ADB for debt financing of over $5.3 billion recently. Sumant Sinha, chairman and CEO of the company tells Raghavendra Kamath & Arunima Bharadwaj about its plans and new areas of business. Excerpts:
You are already India’s largest renewable energy company, with almost 10% market share. What is the journey ahead?
We take great pride in leading the way in India’s sustainable energy transition at ReNew. Our current portfolio stands at 13.8 GW, with approximately 8.3 GW already commissioned and 5.5 GW committed to future projects. In addition, we also have won another 5 GW of auctions where we’re awaiting PPA’s (power purchase agreements). In the next three years, we anticipate being ranked among the top 5 companies in India in terms of capital expenditure. As of now, we contribute 1.8% of India’s total installed power capacity and have played a pivotal role in reducing the country’s power sector emissions by 0.5%.
You want to become a full-fledged decarbonisation partner for corporations. Does that mean—a one-stop shop for all things renewable? Are you spreading yourself too thin?
Our emphasis is on offering comprehensive decarbonisation solutions; given the evolving market landscape, we rebranded ourselves earlier this year from ‘ReNew Power’ to ‘ReNew’. Renewable energy will continue to be a core part of our business. Complementary to our renewable energy generation business, we are also participating in projects on battery energy storage systems, green hydrogen, and others, which could create a market worth up to $80 billion by 2030 in India alone (as per the International Energy Agency). Nevertheless, we are open to exploring opportunities in markets that promise favourable returns on our capital. We are exploring overseas locations for establishment of a Green Hydrogen production facilities and will judiciously select additional destinations based on a thorough assessment of financial returns.
Countries are competing against each other for green hydrogen and battery storage. What are the challenges?
In any commodity, the key to success is being amongst the lowest cost producer. That is the key task ahead of us. Decarbonizing energy systems and industry will no doubt require a significant amount of capital. RE and newer sectors like green hydrogen, and battery storage technologies are all capital intensive. IEA estimates that the amount of investment required per annum will be in excess of $2-3 trillion per year over the next many years. For this quantum of capital to flow in, we will need the sector to improve profitability and hence, returns to equity holders. Scaling up execution will be the other big challenge; this will include land, supply chain, approvals, construction, and the full value chain.
You have big plans for green hydrogen. But many say it’s too expensive and not feasible in India. Your views.
Green hydrogen will be expensive (compared to grey alternatives) in the short to medium term. This is true regardless of whichever part of the world it is produced in. Hence, its demand creation and economic viability in the short term are dependent on government policies. We believe India is on the path to becoming a GH export hub. This is being supported by the very progressive policies of the union government , led by the National Hydrogen Mission, which sets the ambition of 5 MMT( million metric tonnes) capacity by 2030 and also provides subsidies, including the ISTS (Inter state transmission system) waiver. Many states in India have come out with additional support mechanisms as well. Mandates for creation of local demand will also be key, and the government is actively working on the same.
India is once again getting aggressive on thermal power generation in view of the huge post Covid demand for power. As a RE player, are you concerned about that?
India’s energy demand has been growing rapidly, post Covid. We recognise that generation of additional thermal power has been a necessity to meet this demand. However, the government has been very aggressive on renewables as well, in line with the commitment to meet the target of achieving 500 GW renewable energy capacity by 2030.
ReNew Energy Global Plc signed an MoU with ADB for debt financing of over $5.3 billion recently. Can you tell us about the terms and conditions of the deal and how the funding works?
It covers debt financing for new projects with a total project value of $5.3 billion between 2023 and 2028. The MOU identified potential investments in renewable energy projects, including hybrid projects, manufacturing, carbon offset projects, and green hydrogen, with the chief aim of jointly supporting the sustainable energy transition. The funding would come from ADB providing financial assistance to ReNew for decarbonization-related projects and by drawing on various sources of capital, including public, private, and alternative sources.
How much is the company’s market share in the transmission sector, and how does it plan to ramp it up? How many bids did ReNew win this year through tariff-based competitive bidding?
ReNew entered the transmission sector in FY 2022, capturing 17% of the annual market share. The company successfully commissioned its first transmission project for the evacuation of 1500 MW of renewable energy in the Koppal Area of Karnataka in a compressed time schedule. We will continue to be an active market player focusing on strategic green energy corridors, showcasing our commitment to sustainable infrastructure development.
What is the update on ReNew’s solar cell and module manufacturing unit? How much is the manufacturing capacity and how does the company plan to increase it?
ReNew now has a 4 GW module manufacturing facility operational in Jaipur. We are planning to add a 2.4 GW module manufacturing facility in Dholera, Gujarat, to be operational by next quarter, and a 2.5 GW cell manufacturing facility in Dholera, Gujarat, to be operational by July 24. 10.