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New Delhi: As part of its pivot towards green energy, India’s largest power generation company NTPC Ltd has won 4.32 gigawatt (GW) of renewable energy bids since the last financial year.

This assumes significance given that the state-run NTPC Ltd recently bid a record low solar tariff of Rs1.99 per unit setting a new benchmark in the sector.

“A total of 1560 MW of renewable bids won in FY21, which constitute 15% of total bids finalized in the country in FY21, through open competition. We have also won 2765 MW RE bids in FY22 till date. NTPC has now emerged as a serious player in Indian RE sector," said NTPC chairman and managing director Gurdeep Singh at the 45th annual general meeting of the state-run firm.

NTPC recently won 1.9 GW solar power project contract in the bids floated by Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited (IREDA). This comes in the backdrop of India’s plan to leverage state-run power sector firms to augment its clean energy plans, with the central PSUs to be given in-principle approval to bid for a pre-determined capacity of renewable energy projects based on their balance sheet.

“We have made plans for creating a renewables portfolio which could be as large as the thermal portfolio. Accordingly, the renewable targets have been revised to 60 GW from 30 GW by 2032," Singh said.

NTPC is, meanwhile, preparing to list its clean energy units NTPC Renewable Energy Limited (NTPC REL) and NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd (NVVN). The company has set an ambitious aim of 60 GW renewable energy capacity by 2032 from the existing 4.7 GW. It plans to invest 1 trillion between 2019 and 2024 to become a 130GW power producer by 2032.

“As indicated last year, a separate subsidiary for renewables, NTPC Renewable Energy Limited has been formed to add renewables through focused approach. We will also list this company in due course," Singh said.

“Efforts are also underway for increasing power trading through NVVNL. We are focusing on increasing business portfolio of NVVNL which will also be listed in due course," Singh added.

NTPC Group posted a net profit of $1.85 billion in FY21. It has also set an aim of 10% reduction in net energy intensity. The state-run company has an installed capacity of about 67 GW across 70 power projects, with 18 GW under construction.

“NTPC group topped the 300 BU generation mark for 2nd time and registered highest group generation since inception," Singh said.

NTPC also plans to partner with National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF), the country’s quasi-sovereign wealth fund, and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation to acquire and develop green energy assets including offshore wind projects.

“Approval has also been received from Government of Madhya Pradesh for development of solar plant in the land acquired for a coal-based plant. Additionally, discussions are also in progress with various State Governments for allocation of land parcels and water bodies," Singh said.

As part of its diversification strategy, NTPC is also looking to leverage hydrogen for transportation by mixing the fuel with natural gas for City Gas Distribution (CGD) network. NTPC REL has also inked a pact with the Union territory of Ladakh for a green hydrogen mobility project, with the company along with NVVN jointly executing the project.

“Your company believes that Green Hydrogen is going to occupy significant energy space in future and the interplay between electrons and molecules would lead to significant benefits. Accordingly, we have initiated development projects as well as field demonstration projects for Hydrogen production. An agreement has been signed with Union Territory of Ladakh for setting up of country’s first green Hydrogen mobility project in the region," Singh said.

“We have taken up pilot projects on fuel cell-based storage and short-term energy storage micro grid project. Additionally, R&D works are in progress for development of High Temperature Steam Electrolysers, Static Hydrogen Compression System, and development of sea water electrolyser," Singh added.

With the current cost of green hydrogen produced by electrolysis estimated at around 350 per kg, India’s green hydrogen playbook plans to bring it down to 160 per kg by 2029-30. Such a cost price will make India's plan to build green hydrogen plants to run on electricity produced by green energy sources a value proposition. Apart from providing grid-scale storage solutions and feedstock for ammonia production, hydrogen can be used for fuel cell and is being leveraged for mobility applications and transportation. It also has usage in sectors such as chemicals, iron, steel, fertilizer, refining, and heating.

“We are exploring various options using Hydrogen like transport, blending with natural gas, green ammonia, methanol etc. and aspire to lead “Hydrogen Economy" in India and globally," Singh said.

NTPC has also secured a raft of project contracts under the aegis of International Solar Alliance (ISA) in Cuba, Niger and Malawi to help set up solar parks to meet these countries’ electricity demands. NTPC is also eyeing similar opportunities in other ISA member countries in Africa such as Sudan, Congo, Mozambique, Egypt, Uganda, Rwanda, Gambia, Tanzania, Senegal, and Zimbabwe. NTPC has been engaged as a facilitator by ISA and is targeting to help set up 10 GW capacity in ISA member countries.

“We are actively pursuing various option for increasing geo-strategic reach. We have undertaken PMC assignments for 1835 MW solar capacity under ISA programme," Singh said.

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