Tata Power to acquire hydro-power units to boost clean energy portfolio: CEO

Tata Power Co, India's third-largest power generator, is looking to acquire distressed hydro-power projects to boost generating capacity, amidst losses suffered by high-cost thermal projects like the Mundra power project in Gujarat.

Anil Sardana, managing director and CEO of Tata Power, said the company has been in talks with several prospective companies holding on to debt-laden, distressed assets.

Sardana was responding to queries at an interview in the Adjara region of Georgia, where Tata Power is building a 400 MW hydro-power project.

Tata Power has a combined generating capacity of 8,621 MW and the acquisitions will help add assets and pare some of the losses incurred on its Mundra power plant in Gujarat, the CEO said.

The 4,000 MW Mundra power plant, which runs on imported coal, suffered a setback after a regulatory change in Indonesia raised the price of coal imports and rendered Tata Power's tariff agreements unviable.

''We have a dedicated team that looks for opportunities in renewable energy projects and clean technology development,'' Sardana said.

He pointed out that India's north-east region still had over 93 per cent untapped potential, even as the share of hydropower projects in the country's power basket halved over the past 30 years.

Tata Power is looking to increase power generation through the clean energy source, he said, adding that the company recently commissioned the first he 126-megawatt unit of the 513 mw Dagachhu Hydro Power Project in Bhutan.

''While India is endowed with significant hydroelectric potential, and ranks fifth in the world in terms of usable potential, the share of hydro projects in India's power basket has dropped from 40 per cent in the 1970s to below 20 per cent today,'' Sardana said. He attributed the fall to poor investment in the sector due to challenges and risks.