State-run NTPC Ltd is India’s largest power generation utility, accounting for 16% of the country’s installed power generation capacity. With a 51,635 megawatts (MW) portfolio from 48 plants, the utility remains the barometer for India’s power sector. This was amply demonstrated when NTPC recorded its highest ever quarterly generation in the three months ended 31 December, indicating a recovery in the country’s electricity demand.

With 187 generation units, the company’s operations are spread across the country, helping meet the base load for India’s power demand.

It operates across diverse fuel sources such as coal, gas and hydro, and has taken the lead in helping the country reach its ambitious clean energy target of 175 gigawatts by 2022, as part of India’s commitments to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris in December 2015. (One gigawatt equals 1000MW). The utility wants to supply electricity from 10,000MW of solar power capacity that it is setting up on its own and buy 15,000MW on behalf of the ministry of new and renewable energy.

Created with a strategic intent to help India’s energy security goals, the Maharatna has been working on setting up power projects in the neighbourhood. Of its 22,124 employees, around 13,600 are in the executive cadre. The firm registered a net profit of Rs9,385.26 crore on a turnover of Rs79,342.30 crore in fiscal year 2017. It generated 250.3 billion units of electricity in FY17 clocking a plant load factor—a measure of average capacity utilization—of 78.59% against the national average of 59.8%. With 20,976MW under construction, NTPC has an asset base of Rs2.36 trillion with a debt of Rs1.03 trillion on its books.

To keep pace with the fast-changing power sector, the company is looking to diversify. It plans to be present across the electricity value chain and has 10 coal mining blocks with 7.3 billion tonnes of reserves. Apart from inviting companies for setting up cement units near its plants, NTPC is exploring new businesses such as setting up charging stations for electric vehicles. It is also entering the fertilizer production space through a joint venture and is scouting for opportunities to market its technology for producing quality drinking water from sea by utilizing heat generated from its plants.

The utility is slated to play a key role in helping meet the demand generated by Saubhagya scheme (Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana), launched to provide electricity connections to more than 40 million families in rural and urban areas by December 2018. This in turn will help improve India’s per capita power consumption of around 1,200 kilowatt hour, which is among the lowest in the world.

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