NTPC wins numerous contracts for solar projects in Cuba, Malawi and Niger

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NEW DELHI : India’s strategy of showing its green energy credentials to overseas land projects gained traction as state-owned NTPC Ltd secured a series of project contracts under the umbrella of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) in Cuba, Niger and Malawi to help set up solar parks to meet the electricity demand in those countries, two people familiar with the development said.

While NTPC was awarded the Project Management Consulting (PMC) contract to set up 900 megawatt (MW) solar projects in Cuba, it also secured similar contracts in Malawi and Niger to set up respectively 100 MW and 50 MW of solar capacity. These are the countries after Mali (500 MW) and Togo (285 MW) where India’s largest power generation utility has been awarded PMC contracts through ISA, the leading government organization. treaty-based international based in India.

NTPC is also considering similar opportunities in other ISA member countries in Africa such as Sudan, Congo, Mozambique, Egypt, Uganda, Rwanda, Gambia, Tanzania, Senegal and the Zimbabwe. NTPC has been engaged as a facilitator by the ISA and aims to help build 10 gigawatt (GW) capacity in ISA member countries.

The ISA, co-founded by India and France, has become an important public policy tool for India and is seen as a counter-step to China’s ambitious One Belt One Road initiative. India’s strategy is to deny the growing influence of strategic rival China in the region.

In another development, NTPC is also looking to bid for solar power projects in African countries such as the Congo. This is gaining in importance given the aggressive bids cited by the state-owned company during the recent solar auctions held in India. Of the 650 million people who are expected to be deprived of access to energy in 2030, the majority of them are likely to come from Africa.

“NTPC was approved by the International Solar Alliance (ISA) as a Project Management Consultant (PMC) / Solar Project Developer to ISA member countries in November 2019 through a transparent and competitive Swiss Challenge process. As part of this approval, NTPC and ISA have jointly approached member countries for collaboration in the implementation of solar parks and projects in those countries, ”said a spokesperson for NTPC in an email response.

The missions from Cuba and Niger were received by India’s largest electric utility in June, and the mission from Malawi was received in March. It also comes at a time when India is striving to play a global leadership role in the fight against climate change.

“Regular meetings are organized with the Cuban side to finalize the project’s pre-feasibility report. The visit to Cuba of the NTPC and ISA teams is scheduled for mid-September 2021 to gather further information and discuss the modalities for the implementation of the project in question, “said the spokesperson for NTPC and added:” The Nigerien side invited NTPC indicating a global capacity and asked NTPC to identify the location. Currently, NTPC is exploring various options where such energy projects can be developed. “

“In Cuba, a total of 900 MW at 175 sites have been identified,” an ISA spokesperson added in an email response.

China has made major forays into Africa since 2004-05. New Delhi opposes the Belt and Road Initiative, which seeks to invest around $ 8 trillion in infrastructure projects in Asia, Europe and Africa, as it says the initiative is attracting countries to debt traps and does not respect sovereignty or address environmental concerns.

“With regard to other African countries, including the Congo, we have been in regular contact with the authorities concerned for the way forward. In addition, NTPC has participated in various tenders for capacity building and advisory missions in Africa which are at different stages of assessment, ”said the spokesperson for NTPC.

An ISA spokesperson in the emailed response said the NTPC submitted a statement of intent to the ISA Assembly Speaker and New and Renewable Energy Minister Raj Kumar Singh on the 27th. April of last year to work with ISA to help ISA member countries set up solar installations. factories and solar parks.

NTPC plans to reach a renewable energy capacity of 60 gigawatts (GW) by 2032 compared to around 4 GW today. NTPC also announced its goal of reducing net energy intensity by 10% as part of its energy pact goals. Currently, the public sector unit has an installed capacity of approximately 67 GW across 70 power projects with an additional 18 GW under construction.

“NTPC is open to tenders for projects in African countries, including Congo, where there is payment security and a robust regulatory environment,” one of the two people named above said under cover. of anonymity.

The major push for state-owned green power is on the government‘s agenda, with India’s solar and wind generation reaching an all-time high of 43.1 GW on July 27. India has also passed the 100 GW milestone of installed renewable energy capacity.

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