US Co to Invest $4 b in Local Green Energy

Economic Times 2008-05-09

US-based Astonfield Group of Companies has decided to invest $4 billion (Rs 16,000 crore) to set up green energy capacities in India, a solar panel manufacturing unit in West Bengal and a WIMAX network in rural India.

Plans include setting up renewable generation capacities of 2,000 MW at an investment of $2 billion (Rs 8,000 crore approximately) and a solar panel assembly plant at capex of $1.5 billion (Rs 6,000 crore) over the next two to three years. The WIMAX network will be rolled out at an investment of $500 million. It also plans to approach the equity market with an initial public offer (IPO) in calendar 2009.

In West Bengal, the group has firmed up plans to invest about $300 million for setting up Green energy generation capacities of 75-80 MW. These include a 10 MW biomass plant, a 5 MW solar energy unit and a 1 MW manure-to-power unit. These units will come up in Gangarampur, Bankura, and Kalyani, respectively.

"Last week, Astonfield Renewable Resources (ARRL) bought 26 acres in Bankura that will house the 5 MW solar plant. Construction will commence later this year. ARRL is also in final meetings to close on the allotment for a 36 MW municipal solid waste-to-energy plant in Dhapa. The company has been working on the project since October 2007,"Sourabh Sen, co-chairman of ARRL said.

On ARRL?Äôs national India plans, Mr. Sen said: "Out of the proposed 2,000 MW of green energy, about 1,000 MW will be from solar power generation units, while 800 MW will be from municipal solid waste, biomass and bagasse."

Interestingly, ARRL has been looking at states like Rajasthan, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka, Jammu & Kashmir and Gujarat. "In Rajasthan and Bihar, we intend to set up Green energy capacities of 260 MW each. In Bihar, the plan is to set up 100 MW of solar energy unit, 50 MW biogas, another 50 MW bagasse and 60 MW of municipal solid waste to power. In Rajasthan, we intend to set up 100 MW of solar energy plants and four 25 MW units of municipal solid waste to power," Mr. Sen said.

"India, as a country, has tremendous potential for successful renewable energy executions in multiple modalities. From the abundance of sun for solar plants to the quality of municipal waste for waste-to-energy projects, India has a portfolio of natural resources that provide infinite opportunities to capitalize on renewable energy," Mr. Sen said.