Tata, Norway co in Rs 15k-cr pact for hydel projects

Written by fe Bureaus | Mumbai | Updated: Nov 1 2009, 04:34am hrs
Indias largest integrated private power utility, Tata Power, and SN Power, a Norwegian power company with investments in hydroelectricity in Chile, India, Nepal, Peru, the Philippines and Sri Lanka, have signed an exclusive partnership agreement to develop joint hydropower projects in India and Nepal. The partners aim to have 2,000 mw under construction or in operation by 2015, with an investment of Rs 15,000 crore and a total of 4,000 mw by 2020. The two companies have begun pursuing project opportunities based on the vast reserves of renewable energy in the Himalayas. These projects will be developed on a 70:30 debt-equity ratio.

Tata Power executive director S Ramakrishnan told reporters on Friday that each joint project will be developed through a special purpose vehicle (SPV) structure. For SPVs in Nepal, SN Power will hold 50% of the total issued and paid-up capital of the SPV plus one equity share. For the SPVs in India, Tata Power will hold 50% of the total issued and paid-up capital of the SPV, plus one equity share. Both the companies will have equal say in all matters across all SPVs. He said of the proposed investment of Rs 15,000 crore, debt of Rs 4,500 crore will be shared 50:50, adding that Tata Power does not see any problem to mobilise the project in the next six years.

Ramakrishnan said a third partner may be added in the proposed capacity addition, saying funds would be lined up from both domestic and foreign sources. The International Finance Corporation and Asian Development Bank may be tapped for funds.

Tata Power executive director Banmali Agrawala said the partners would also establish a jointly-owned services company in the country to provide technical and managerial expertise for such projects. Tata Power and SN Power are also planning to co-develop the Tamakoshi project in Nepal, for which the latter holds licence rights. The fund-raising would not begin before next year. The partners are also considering co-development of the Tamakoshi 3 project in Nepal, for which SN Power holds licence rights. "The Tamakoshi 3 is a 600-mw project. We are looking at the feasibility of the project but it will take time to develop," Agrawala said. The SPV is expected to sell the electricity on a merchant basis or by signing power purchase agreements.