The various measures by the Government and envisaged funding in the sector will boost investment in wind energy, says Kirti Vagadia, Group Head - Finance, Suzlon Group.
How do you rate the current Union Budget as far as power finance is concerned?
The Budget has attempted to address the short-term challenges for the power sector, and at the same time laid a roadmap for more comprehensive measures over the medium to long-term as well. It has set aside Rs 500 crore for new and renewable energy. The implementation of the Green Energy Corridor Project will be a great move to integrate channels for evacuation of renewable energy including wind power - a formidable challenge for generating companies at the moment.
How do you assess the proposals in the Budget?
The Budget proposals like extending of 10-year tax holiday for power companies by 31st March, 2017, will provide the much required predictability for investors investing in power projects. The Budget proposal to increase clean energy cess from Rs 50 per tonne to Rs 100 per tonne for financing and promoting will indeed be a major boost for wind energy in particular. The Clean Energy Fund will now be doubled annually from Rs 4000 crore allowing more investments and the restoring of accelerated depreciation will revive the wind sector and will greatly benefit SMEs who invest in wind energy and use the electricity for captive consumption. The Finance Ministry also provided much awaited relief in the form of exempting special additional duty of 4 per cent on parts and materials required for the manufacturing of wind-operated generators.
What are the biggest challenges that your company faces?
Between 2009 and 2013, the wind energy industry globally faced difficulties due to withdrawal of incentives. The Indian market of 3,300 MW annual capacity shrunk to 2,000 MW. Today, we can see that there are signs of a global turnaround in the industry.
Can you give us details of your fund-raising plans for the current fiscal?
We plan to raise further Rs 1,000 crore by selling non-core assets. In this regard, we have identified 15 non-core assets, which we plan to sell in the next 12-18 months in a phased manner.
The Finance Ministry is reportedly working on a Rs 50,000 crore fund for the power sector. What are your views on the same?
This move is a progressive step towards bringing India closer to achieving its ¨Clean Energy¨ targets. The Budget is also promoting manufacturing-led growth, infrastructure and clean energy. The various measures and funding in the sector will boost investment in the wind energy sector, which is likely to grow by 50 per cent in 2014-15.
Special Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARCs) have been mooted for the power sector, can we have your views on this move?
Although it´s a very well thought move, it needs immediate legislation and implementation. The capital required for financing/refinancing of power projects requires special financial tools (like power bonds) and autonomous functioning of ARCs.