Astonfield and Areva in 100 mw biomass pact

Project Monitor 2009-08-01

Astonfield Renewable Resources Pvt. Ltd. which has offices in Mumbai, Kolkata and New York, recently signed a strategic partnership with Areva of France (also see page 6) to co-develop the company's initial 100-mw biomass power plants across India at an estimated cost of Rs. 630 crore.

Under the agreement, Areva's bioenergy unit in Chennai will help Astonfield design, construct and commission the projects, and even invest in them. "We will invest about 60 percent in the projects and Areva the remaining 40 percent." Sourabh Sen, Co-chairman, Astonfield, told Project monitor, Areva will also offer customers assistance for carbon credits generated from the projects, The EPC agreement also allows Astonfield to continue to build its project pipeline and deliver "shovel ready" projects complete with PPAs, project financing, land and permits.

Work on the first project with a generating capacity of 10 mw will start in Q4 2009 at Gangarampur in West Bengal. We have purchased a total of 22 acres for the project. The Gangarampur plant will use rice husk as fuel." Sen pointed out.

Astonfield has a multi-modality pipeline of over 600 mw in development, solar PV projects with 228 mw of Moue/allocations, and clarity on an addition al 250 mw of contracts. The company has secured government concession to build, own and operate renewable energy power plants totaling 338 mw. Sen said "We have received 60 percent of the clearances and expect to receive all approvals by October this year. We have also identified West Bengal, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka for the remaining 90 mw of implementation, which are being prioritized' he added.

Meanwhile, Astonfield's plan to invest @130 million on setting up a 54-mw solid waste-to-energy plant at Dhapa, on a 186-hectage dumping ground in Kolkata, is in the final stage of discussion. Work on the plant is expected to start in 2010 and is likely to be commissioned in two to three yeas. On completion, the plant will be the second largest outside USA and will meet about 25 per cent of Kolkata's energy requirement.