The $41-billion Aditya Birla Group on Wednesday announced a partnership with the Abraaj Group, a leading investor in global growth markets, to build a large-scale renewable energy platform that will develop utility-scale solar power plants in India.
The Aditya Birla Group will invest through Aditya Birla Nuvo (ABNL), while Abraaj will invest through one of its affiliates.
ABNL has signed a shareholders agreement with Abraaj. ABNL and an Abraaj affiliate will hold 51% and 49% respectively in Aditya Birla Renewables, currently a wholly-owned subsidiary of ABNL.
Aditya Birla Renewables, the solar power platform, will bid for projects tendered at national and state auctions to develop and operate utility-scale solar power plants that will provide clean and cost-effective electricity to national grids.
The partnership comes at a time when demand for power in India is rising as a result of the country’s growing population, rapid urbanisation and increasing economic activities. The government too has created favourable regulatory policies for the use of renewable energy, including setting a target to achieve 100 gigawatts of solar power capacity by 2022 compared to the current installed capacity of 4 GW.
“The Aditya Birla Group supports the government’s initiative for a greater share of renewables in the energy mix. This cooperation will give a fillip to the Aditya Birla Group’s renewable energy initiatives and contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of India,” said Dev Bhattacharya, business head (group corporate strategy solar power and e-commerce).
Sev Vettivetpillai, partner at Abraaj, said: “The gap in energy infrastructure in growth markets translates into a long-term and sustainable investment opportunity. Renewable energy is set for explosive growth, thanks to technological advances, favourable policies and pricing structures, that make it a competitive alternative to conventional power generation. At Abraaj, we see significant opportunity in India, one of the world’s biggest energy consumption markets. We look forward to working closely with the Aditya Birla Group to provide clean energy to Indian businesses, communities and consumers.”
The Abraaj Group has comprehensive investment experience across the energy value chain and has invested about US$ 1 billion in 10 investments in global growth markets. The Aditya Birla Group was advised on the transaction by Greenstone Energy Advisors.