Interview | Terje Pilskog, EVP, Scatec: ‘Retrospective tariff revisions are not investor-friendly’

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June 16, 2021 1:00 AM

The country is targeting a significant growth in renewable energy capacity by 2030 and is a key growth market for renewables.

More mature projects will definitely be more attractive. However, we are also open to bidding for greenfield projects and develop capacities on our own.More mature projects will definitely be more attractive. However, we are also open to bidding for greenfield projects and develop capacities on our own.

Norwegian renewables player Scatec has recently signed an agreement with domestic firm Acme Solar for a 50% stake in the latter’s upcoming 900 megawatt (MW) power generation assets in Rajasthan. Scatec expects India “to be a key market in the years to come”. Terje Pilskog, executive vice president, project development solar and wind, Scatec, tells Anupam Chatterjee how the company is planning to consolidate its presence in the country. Edited excerpts.

What kind of assets are you looking at in India?

Globally, we want to add 12 gigawatt (GW) of renewable energy assets by the end of 2025, and out of that, a few GWs are expected to be in India. We will prefer taking over projects with short construction periods and have secured power purchase agreements (PPAs) with discoms. More mature projects will definitely be more attractive. However, we are also open to bidding for greenfield projects and develop capacities on our own.

Why did Scatec choose India to expand its base?

The country is targeting a significant growth in renewable energy capacity by 2030 and is a key growth market for renewables. We are positioning for future tenders within solar, wind and hybrids. We will also look into the prospects of building hydro power projects in the country. We see opportunities to offer various large-scale solutions across technologies in India, both based on federal and state tenders, as well as through entering into direct PPAs with corporate off-takers. Global investors look for predictability, and policy reforms should aim towards incentivising the industry.

Several states now want to revise solar and wind tariffs discovered earlier with prices falling in recent auctions. What do you have to say to that?

Retrospective tariff revisions are definitely not investor-friendly and disrupt the calculations developers make while bidding for the project and deploying capital. However, this is something that is sadly happening all over the world. Something similar happened in Spain. One may have to take it into account as one of the risks. We are confident that we will be able to manage the situation if the need arises. If such developments take place, we will legally challenge the decisions and adjust our approach to project planning.

Are you also looking to build storage-plus renewable-energy capacities?

Scatec has recently been awarded a 540 MW solar and 225 MW/1,140 MWh battery storage project in South Africa, which is one of the largest of its kind in the world. We have shown the capability of building such projects, and if the conditions are right, we can take up similar projects in India as well. However, we want to stick to developing projects and as of now have no plans of building storage or solar equipment manufacturing capacities.

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