Tata Power eyes stronger overseas presence


Faced with sluggishness in the domestic power sector, Tata Power is looking for opportunities across geographies including the Middle East and aims to have about 5,000 MW overseas generation capacity in coming years.

The country’s largest private power producer is pursuing opportunities in Myanmar, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Middle East, South Africa, Bhutan, Georgia and Australia, among others.

“We expect to have around 4,000 to 5,000 MW generation capacity overseas in the next 5-7 years,” Tata Power’s Executive Director (Finance) S Ramakrishnan told PTI.

Tata Power, which already has significant interests in Indonesia, South Africa and Georgia, among others, is eyeing a diverse mix of thermal, hydro and renewables portfolio.

“Right now, the projects being looked at overseas are not large and have capacities of about 300 to 600 MW… Our investments overseas would depend on the experience in each country,” he said.
Currently, Tata Power has an installed generation capacity of 8,521 MW, including 1,111 MW of renewable energy.

“Considering the current (investment) climate in the country (for power sector), some diversification is not a bad idea,” Ramakrishnan said.

He was responding to a query on whether the company is looking for overseas opportunities due to problems in the domestic sector.

Indian power sector, that is projected to add around 88,000 MW generation capacity in the current Five-Year Plan period (2012-17), is grappling with multiple woes related to fuel availability, land acquisition and poor financial health of distribution companies.

However, he said that the domestic sector has huge potential.

On overseas plans, Ramakrishnan said the company has started feasibility studies for thermal power projects in Vietnam and Myanmar. In each of these geographies, Tata Power is initially looking to have capacity of 600 MW.

“The feasibility studies would take around 15-18 months to get completed and thereafter the development of project would take about three to four years,” he said.

Tata Power is also working on hydel projects in Georgia having cumulative capacity of over 400 MW.

“The first phase, having generation capacity of over 200 MW, is being implemented. For the second one, having capacity of about 100 MW, the detailed plan is being developed… Electricity generated from Georgia would be supplied to Turkey,” Ramakrishnan said.

For the first phase, the evacuation system is getting ready and power purchase agreements are under discussion. “The first phase is expected to be ready by 2016,” he added.

Ramakrishnan said the company was also looking for some opportunities in the Middle East.
“Currently, we are studying the power system of an emirate (nation) and then would look at possible opportunities,” he said.

In Indonesia and Australia, Tata Power is focusing on geothermal energy. The company along with Geodynamics have commissioned a 1 MW geothermal pilot plant in Australia.

“Besides, in Indonesia we are looking for opportunities in hydro and coal-based power projects,” Ramakrishnan said.

Tata Power already has stakes in Indonesian coal mines.

Meanwhile in South Africa, Tata Power’s joint venture with Exxaro — Cennergi — has tied up finances for two wind energy projects together having capacity of over 200 MW.
“We are looking for more projects in Africa, including potential opportunities in gas and hydro projects,” he said.

Further, the hydro plant being developed in Bhutan is expected to be ready by early next year and over 100 MW electricity generated from that project would be supplied to India.

For the entire 2012-13 fiscal, Tata Power saw its consolidated net loss narrow to Rs 85.43 crore.