Tata Power's green plans: 6,000MW by 2017

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Tata Power Co. Ltd is making a big bet on clean energy. The country’s largest private power utility, which already generates about one-fifth of its power from clean sources, expects to maintain or increase this.

The scale of that ambition becomes apparent in the context of Tata Power’s plan to expand its production portfolio by nearly eight times over the next six years. The utility has chalked up plans to increase total generation capacity to 25 giga watts (GW) by 2017 from 3,176 megawatts (MW) now. Energy generated from clean sources currently accounts for 727MW, or around one-fifth of the 3,176MW generated, which is set to rise to 5-6GW in the next six years, managing director Anil Sardana said in a recent interview. One GW is 1,000MW.

Clean energy is generally defined as that which can be generated with minimal pollution. Its sources include wind, small scale hydroelectric projects, the sun, biomass, tides and waves, among others. Tata Power’s plans come at a time when Indian utilities have struggled to keep pace with targets set by the Planning Commission for capacity addition even as peak power deficit has expanded to 12.7%, with the possibility of it further rising over the long term. Despite this, large integrated utilities have hesitated from venturing into power generation from alternative energy sources, focusing instead on coal and gas-based power plants that need lower capital costs to set up, and have more predictable returns.

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