Engie eyes partnerships to drive growth in India


NEW DELHI: French renewable energy major Engie is in talks with companies for partnerships to drive its next phase of growth in India across solar and wind power projects, besides green hydrogen, said Amit Jain, country manager, Engie India Ltd.

In an interview, Jain said talks are in the initial stages and the company may either enter into a single partnership or consider multiple vertical-specific partnerships.

“(It could be) somebody who provides financial support or the knowledge of the market better than us. It could be different things. May be on the risk side, they take some of the risk, on the financing or the cost side, as we take risks on the industrial side, on engineering, on procurement, which is our bread and butter,” he said.

Engie tends to forge partnerships worldwide, and it would seek to pursue the same route for the Indian market, said Jain.

“These kinds of partnerships we do globally. So, for India also, we are open for it, but not primarily to divest or capital raise; that’s not the intent. They could be partners for long-term strategy; they could be project-specific. For instance, Edelweiss is project-specific. It could be a different partner for C&I (commercial and industrial segment), could be a partner for utility, could be one combined partner. We are still in discussions on how we structure these partnerships,” he said.

Last year, Edelweiss Infrastructure Yield Plus, an alternative investment fund, picked up a 74% stake in Engie group’s solar assets in India for $550 million. Engie continues to run the operations and maintenance of the assets.

Jain said Engie’s joint venture with Spanish firm EDPR, Ocean Winds, which deals with offshore wind energy, is looking at investment opportunities in India.

“We had a team from Ocean Winds visit us a couple of weeks ago in India and meet all the different stakeholders, to look at what India has to offer in terms of their policies and the regulatory framework,” he said.

Last month, India’s ministry of new and renewable energy said it will initiate the first bidding process for leasing out 4 gigawatt of offshore wind energy blocks off the coast of Tamil Nadu in a few months.

To grow the offshore wind power sector, the industry will require supportive initiatives such as viability gap funding, development on connectivity and a long-term strategy.

Going forward, Engie will enter into corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs), Jain said.

“We see a lot of pre- development work in terms of identifying land, being ready for building the future on the corporate side as well. We are talking to a lot of corporate customers to help them with the energy transition, which we do globally as well. We have 1.3 GW globally of corporate PPAs. Now, in India also, we are taking that route,” he said.

The company has a renewable energy portfolio of 1.3 GW in India including solar and wind assets. Noting that Engie will continue to focus on solar and wind, Jain said it is also looking at the floating solar space.

He said that green hydrogen is also a key area for the group and it is running around 70 pilot projects globally. However, in India, Engie will wait for regulatory clarity and evaluate the scenario, before taking a final call, he added.

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