State-owned NLC India is investing aggressively in renewable energy even as it eyes stressed coal-fired generating stations in the market for acquisition a part of its inorganic growth strategy.
NLC India is investing heavily in renewable energy as producing only lignite and generating power from it may not be sustainable for long, company chairman and managing director S K Acharya had told ET recently.
NLC has bagged a 709 MW solar project in Tamil Nadu and hopes green energy will boost revenue growth. It has firmed up a capex of about Rs 17,400 crore for setting up 4,200 MW of green energy generation capacities by 2020 as part of its diversification plan.
He said lignite extracted from pits has high moisture content of 30-40%. This makes it unviable to transport the fuel over long distances on rakes.
Thus, lignite-based power stations are economic only if integrated power plants are set up at pit heads. So far, we are competitive because we do not have to transport lignite over long distances and all our plants are at pit heads.
The company intends to set up 995 MW of solar generation capacity each at Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. The plant in Tamil Nadu is expected to be ready by March 2019 while that in Uttar Pradesh would be ready by September 2019.
NLC has identified two more stressed power assets for acquisition, besides the 2×660 MW Ragunathpur Thermal Power Station of DVC that it has shortlisted to take over, Union power minister Piyush Goyal told parliament recently.