With the cost of land acquisition on the rise, India’s leading public sector units including NTPC Ltd, which have so far followed the greenfield route for growth, are now exploring inorganic route to increase their foothold in the power sector.
At a recent meeting with power minister Piyush Goyal, NTPC was asked to examine if its plans to put up 11,000 megawatt (MW) of planned greenfield capacity could be replaced by inorganic growth — acquiring new projects.
As reported first by HT, NTPC has already chalked out a plan to acquire Rs 30,000 crore worth of coal-based power projects across the country by the year end. In this connection, it has recently floated an expression of interest and has received over 31 responses from across the country.
“It may be examined whether 11,000 MW of the total 13th Plan (2018-23) targeted capacity may be postponed for further development in case major steps may not have been taken and in the alternative NTPC may consider the inorganic growth approach for increasing its portfolio,” said the minutes of the meeting with heads of central power public sector units.
The shift, the note added, is because there is a need to adopt a country-first approach so that national assets in any sector are utilised to the maximum.
Simply put, it means that as most gas-based power capacities planned by various companies are lying stranded for want of fuel, NTPC has been asked to look at acquiring coal-based power plants to keep up with its targeted capacity addition.
“It is too early to comment on this... my approach is to look at all options with an open mind and then do what is in the best interest of this country and sector,” Goyal told HT.
NTPC is India’s leading thermal power company, which a current capacity of 43,000 MW. It plans to add 14,000 MW during the 12th Plan period (2012-1017) and is on a lookout for 5,000 MW of capacity addition through acquisition.
For the 13th Plan, it is likely to add a total capacity of 20,000 MW.