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Astonfield sticks to 2000cr green energy plan

Business Standard 2008-11-13, Kolkata

Astonfield Renewable Resources Ltd (ARRL) plans to invest close to Rs 2,000 crore over the next two years on renewable energy projects in India.

This is part of the money raised by the company earlier when it had decided to foray into India.

According to Sourabh Sen, co-chairmen, ARRL, "Raising fresh funds is an issue now but we have more banks in US and Japan part financing all of our projects. A few of the projects are self-funded. We hope to break even in six to seven years from now."

Sen said that the Haryana Renewable Energy Development Agency (HAREDA) has issued a letter of intent to ARRL for setting up solar power projects of 3 megawatt in the state with the option of two more in the future.

The tariff for generation of solar energy has been fixed at Rs 15.96 per unit by the Haryana Electricity Regulatory Commission (HERC) for projects to be commenced up to December 31, 2009, and Rs 15.16 per unit for projects commencing between December 31, 2009 and March 31, 2010.

Astonfield has also set up an office in Mumbai to focus on projects in South and West India.

ARRL has seen a steady growth of business in 2007 and first quarter of 2008, where the first official renewable energy allotments were received in Bengal, including 10 megawatt of biomass, 5 megawatt of solar PV, and 1 megawatt of manure-to-power, to be executed in Gangarampur, Bankura, and Kalyani, respectively.

Since then, last year, ARRL bought its first plot of land in Bankura, a total of 26 acres for a 5 megawatt solar PV plant, which ARRL will start constructing later this year.

According to Sen, ARRL is also in the final stage to bid on the allotment for a 54 megawatt municipal solid waste-to-energy plant in Dhapa, a project the company has been working on since October 2007.

The specific projects in West Bengal will cost approximately 60 crore for the 10 megawatt biomass project, Rs 100 crore for the 5 megawatt solar, and Rs 8 crore for a 1 megawatt of manure-to-power project.