China, UK cos to invest billions in solar, wind energy

  • Anupama Airy and Arnab Mitra, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 17, 2015 01:43 IST

Companies from China and Britain will invest billions of dollars in India’s solar and wind power industries under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.

China, which has already committed to invest $20 billion in India over the next five years, wants to set up new solar manufacturing facilities in India, power minister Piyush Goyal told HT in an exclusive chat. Britain also wants to partner India in a big way in the renewable energy sector.

“I had two important meetings on Sunday, one with the Chinese and another with the British delegation and they are all interested in participating in India’s renewable energy sector. Britain wants us to reserve a sub-limit within our total renewable energy target for its companies,” Goyal said.

India has presently set a target of adding 175,000 mega watt (mw) of renewable energy that includes 100,000 mw of solar power and 75,000 mw from other sources including wind, mini-hydel and bio mass based plants.

According to ministry officials, Goyal met UK’s minister of energy and climate change Baroness Sandip Verma and other investors who are keen to come to India.

UK and Chinese companies would invest in the manufacturing of components, including solar cells. These facilities will supply to domestic user industries as well as export to markets around the world.

“While the Chinese could look at Maharashtra and Gujarat for these manufacturing facilities, UK companies could go to Rajasthan, Punjab and Haryana,” a senior ministry official said.

At a recent exclusive interaction, Chinese ambassador to India Le Yucheng had told HT about Chinese interest in India’s renewable energy sector. However, Le had also highlighted some issues such as “easier visa norms (for Chinese businessmen), favourable policies towards foreign investment, faster approvals and easier land acquisition norms to improve the investment climate.”

Goyal also mentioned the concerns of the Chinese delegation over financing, land issues and other approvals. “I have assured them that I am going to create a framework where we can simplify the entire process including entry rules,” he said.

With India’s march towards the global climate change obligations, UK may also offer clean coal technologies to India, which depends on coal based power projects for about 60% of its installed power generation capacity of 250,000 mw.

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