India Coal Power Giant Nearly Doubles Renewable Energy Target

A smokestack of the shut coal-fired NTPC Ltd. Badarpur Thermal Power Station stands in Delhi, India. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

India Coal Power Giant Nearly Doubles Renewable Energy Target

NTPC Ltd., India’s largest power generator, has increased its target for renewable energy capacity to 60 gigawatts by 2032, accelerating a shift away from coal.

The New Delhi-based company increased the target from 32 gigawatts set earlier, and the plan had been approved by the company’s board, finance director A.K. Gautam told analysts on a call Saturday.

The new plan underscores how emerging economies are turning away from the dirtiest fossil fuel amid increased concern about climate change and air quality, and as financing such projects becomes more costly with global banks unwilling to lend to them.

“NTPC has a strong balance sheet and can raise growth capital at very competitive rates,” said Rupesh Sankhe, vice president at Elara Capital India Pvt. in Mumbai. “The renewables industry has attracted interest from large players including foreign ones and cornering such a large capacity won’t be easy.”

The state-run generator has 66 gigawatts of generation capacity, about 17% of the nation’s installed fleet. More than 92% of the company’s installations run on fossil fuels. Sankhe called the new target “overly optimistic.”

NTPC is assessing whether the bigger renewable build-out should affect its plans to expand its fossil fuel fleet. The previous plan would have boosted total generating capacity to 130 gigawatts by 2032, with thermal power making up 70% of that.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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