* Hundreds of firms vying for a stake in green energy sector
* Solar plan part of ambitious $19 billion, 30-year scheme
By Krittivas Mukherjee
NEW DELHI, Aug 10 The global financial crisis is
hurting India's hopes of attracting about $21 billion worth of
investments in renewable energy by 2012, but a new solar plan
expected to be rolled out by December could provide a boost.
Renewables energy officials said on Monday they had already
received more than $3 billion worth of investment since 2007,
which could generate about 3,000 megawatts (MW) of power, almost
half of it from wind energy alone.
Domestic and foreign companies such as India's Tata group
and Reliance Industries as well as state-run utilities are among
hundreds of companies vying for a stake in India's emerging
green energy sector.
But the global financial crisis may have slowed investments
and India could find it difficult to meet its target of
generating 14,500 MW of green power by 2012.
"We were quite hopeful but it may not be possible to do so
(now)," Deepak Gupta, the most senior civil servant in the
renewables ministry, told reporters.
India aims to generate 25,000 megawatts of power from
renewable energy over the next four years, more than double the
current generation level of 12,000 MW.
Only three percent of India's total power mix is now from
renewables, and developing this sector is at the centre of
India's national plan on climate change which does not commit to
any emission targets.
One of the thrusts of that plan is developing solar power
and India has plans of generating 20 gigawatts of solar power by
"We hope to roll out the plan by the end of this calender
year," Gupta said.
Debashish Majumdar, chairman and managing director, said
once the solar plan took off it could become a game changer for
India's green energy sector, as top global companies were
waiting for an opportunity to invest.
The target, which would help India close the gap on solar
front-runners like China, is part of an ambitious $19 billion,
30-year scheme that could could increase India's leverage in
international talks for a new U.N. climate pact in December, one
of several measures meant to help cut emissions.
If fully implemented, solar power would be equivalent to
one-eighth of India's current installed power base, helping the
world's fourth-largest emitter of planet-warming greenhouse gas
emissions limit its heavy reliance on dirty coal and assuaging
the nagging power deficit that has crimped its growth.
Majumdar said India was also shifting from a policy of
investment-based incentive to generation-linked incentives for
(Editing by Alistair Scrutton and James Jukwey)