EAI's Presentation and Workshop at the Renewable Energy Finance Conference, Singapore

Venue: Sheraton Towers, Singapore
Start Date: 12th Apr 2010
End Date: 14th Apr 2010
Speaker: Narasimhan Santhanam, CEO, EAI
Title of Presentation: Elephants Can Dance - Renewable Energy in India: Implications for Investment

Topics presented on:

  • India Energy - Current Status
  • India Energy - Strategy for the Future
    • Electricity Grid Improvements
    • Focus on Renewables
  • Investments in Renewable Energy
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Key Points Presented

  • Peak electricity shortage
  • Huge oil import bill
  • Trends in use of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, natural gas
  • Electricity grid problems
  • Electricity grid progress being made
  • Opportunities in transmission network
  • Renewables contribution to electricity and transport fuels
  • Potential and trends for various renewable energy sources in India
    • Solar
      • Solar PV
      • Solar CSP
    • Wind
    • Biofuels
      • Biodiesel
      • Ethanol
      • Second Generation Biofuels
    • Hydro
      • Small Hydro
      • Large Hydro
    • Biomass-based electricity
    • Waste to Energy

View the entire presentation here

click here to download the presentation

Highlights and key take-aways from the workshop and seminar:

1. The workshop was attended by about 10 people; this group comprised 3-4 investors (private equity companies and banks), while the rest were either from government departments or companies keen on knowing more about investing in renewable energy, and not always specifically in the Indian context.

2. The key inputs that the attendees wanted were the potential for India for various renewable energy sectors, the government incentives for the sector, and the costs and cost breakdowns for each sector. I provided these details for the following renewable energy domains: solar PV, solar CSP, wind (onshore), biofuels, biomass-based power, geothermal, small hydro and large hydro. Most interest was for solar (both PV and CSP), biomass-based power and small hydro.

3. The conference was attended by about 70 delegates, with a majority of them from the investing community. That was a bit surprising, as I would have thought that those who needed the money would be present in as high a number (if not higher) than those who had it. But well, there it is! I was able to collect a lot of useful inputs from the conference as the speakers represented both the invested community (mostly private equity companies) and the investee community (developers of renewable energy projects).

4. The overall impression I had of the investing community was that they are keen on investing in renewable energy (in India as well as elsewhere) but would like better clarity on the risks involved and the exit route. As expected, most PE firms would rather not get in very early but wait until a growth stage had been reached. The developer/investee community were as expected bullish about their sectors, but I felt some of them still were not entirely sure about the how to make their projects far more cost competitive - it's of course well known that government incentives are the key to make these projects economically sustainable, but some insights on how these projects could eventually stand on their own would have been very useful.