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Interaction | September 2016

We will handle one-fourth of total planned solar capacity

Gurdeep Singh, Chairman & Managing Director, NTPC Limited

Could you throw some light on your roadmap for FY17?
We as of now have 47,228 MW of the operational capacity through thermal. We have also added another 50 MW of solar capacity, taking our total to 47,278 MW. This year we are going to add about 4,500 MW of capacity out of the 24,000 MW which is under construction.

What is the status as far as Fatatewadi plant in Solapur, which has an investment outlay of Rs.10,000-15,000 crore?
The Solapur plant is at a very advanced stage of construction and we will in all likelihood be commissioning it this year. We are trying to see it peak next year.

What are your solar plans and how they are panning out? How crucial a part it would be for your overall portfolio?
Out of the 100 GW planned, we are going to add 10 GW on our own and 15 GW we are going to buy from developers and in turn sell to discoms. So, put together this accounts for almost one-fourth of the total 100 GW of planned solar capacity. As of now, we have already commissioned 360 MW and other 500 MW is going to be commissioned during FY´16.

How does your capex and investment roadmap look like? For this year, we have a capex plan of Rs.30,000-40,000 crore, and are on track as planned for that as of now. On fund raising side, your board has approved masala bonds...
We have approved Rs.15,000 crore and we are going to take it to AGM (Annual General Meeting). A part of it will be raised in FY´17 and something will go towards FY´18. Besides, we keep raising funds as per our requirement. As of now we have a very healthy balance sheet and the debt-equity ratio is almost 1:1.03, so we have quite a good headroom for that.

Give us an update on the projects you are setting up?
In all, 24,000 MW of capacity is under construction. We are going to add 4,500 MW this year, and a similar capacity next year. These projects were started sometime back, so we have to go on creating a healthy pipeline of the projects on a continuous basis. Today we have 47,228 MW. This will cross 50,000 MW and that is evident in our results. That is what the media picked up and tried to project.

Things are finally falling into place for Dabhol. Can you update us on what is happening?
We are running approximately at 520 MW capacity, compared to around 250 MW a year ago. The railway is buying that power.

What effect would UDAY have on how discoms buy power?
Last quarter - i.e. April to June 16-17, we sold almost 10 per cent more energy from NTPC plants, and along with our JV, 12 per cent more energy in this quarter compared to the previous quarter. So already there is some impact seen. Discoms have started buying more power. There is another important part, and that id how to bring in efficiency at different phases - whether it is in generation in coal rationalisation or reduction of freight, AT&C losses or metering. These are the other steps which are important and that are underway at present. Besides this, as part of coal rationalisation - which is also a part of UDAY, we have been able to reduce our cost of power to discoms by an average of around 15 paise per unit in comparison to the previous financial year.

Do you see discoms increasing tariff? How would UDAY have an impact here?
I think many states have taken this revision in the tariff and at least there is complete kind of consensus amongst all stakeholders in almost all the states, and we are also involved in that. I think that periodic ARR filing and hearing is happening and in some states, in fact, their regulators, have started reducing the tariff. The states that are doing well have implemented this.

Import of coal is going to be passT for producers like you, if one looks at numbers...
I think there is abundant coal available in the country. So why should we be importing if it is available domestically?

The Ministry of Environment had come up with a series of directions as far as the emission of various plants is concerned. That calls for a lot of retrofitting of pollution control requirements and all. What are the initiatives in that direction?
As a corporate and responsible organisation, we will have to comply with the MoEF guidelines. However, the question raised is how much of it is feasible. In our new plants, we have already started including these new norms. The old ones are being studied. There are some plants in which there is no space and some plants are already very old, so we have consider de-commissioning them. Let us see how it goes. I think the Ministry of Power has represented the subject after considering the industry bodies. Not only NTPC, but even the Association of Power Producers (APP) and various states have represented their case on the issue. Let us see how it turns out.

Environment consciousness is growing. What are the latest technologies adoptied by you?
The first is is super critical technology, which in itself is going to contribute towards improvements and in reduction of emissions. In addition to that, there is a new guideline for CSNOx [which is aimed at significantly reducing carbon dioxide (CO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and nitrogen oxide (NOx)]. These are a few, besides which there are much more stringent norms being applied. Therefore, for the new plants, we are introducing these specifications at the onset and will be just taking up that for compliance.

- BS Srinivasalu Reddy

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