Founded in 2004, the Greenko Group is one of the largest renewable energy companies in India, with a diverse portfolio of clean energy assets spread across 15 states in India. So far, the Greenko Group, comprising Greenko Energy Holdings and its subsidiaries, has established a power generation capacity of 7.5 GW, generating 19 billion units, electrifying 6.3 million households while preventing the generation of 17 million tonnes of carbon dioxide. The company has a pipeline of roughly 17 GW of wind, solar, hydro and energy storage assets. It has also established biomass and natural gas assets in the past.
A major portion of Greenko’s portfolio comprises solar, wind and hydro power projects. It has engineered and constructed almost 2.2 GW of utility-scale solar assets, strategically situated across the country’s landscape. Till date, the company has commissioned 53 solar projects. Greenko also specialises in the full spectrum of wind power solutions and owns around 3.2 GW of operational wind farms, which account for 8.48 per cent of the total installed wind energy capacity in India. In the small and medium hydropower space, the company has an installed capacity of 1.78 GW with over 6.42 GW of pumped hydro storage projects in the pipeline. Currently, Greenko is developing three state-of-the-art multi-gigawatt-scale integrated renewable energy storage projects (IRESPs) with national grid connectivity in the states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. These projects will harness the power of solar and wind resources with digitally connected storage infrastructure to provide round-the-clock power to the grid. The company has nearly 100 GWh of storage projects in the pipeline.
In line with the ambitious clean energy targets set by the Indian government, Greenko is now entering the green hydrogen market in India. In September 2021, it signed up for “The Climate Pledge” and joined over 200 companies that have pledged to achieve the net zero carbon emissions target by 2040, a decade ahead of the Paris Agreement goal.
Greenko’s core business strategy has been to focus on decarbonisation, digitalisation and decentralisation of the energy sector. Under its first business model, GKO 1.0, the company focused on energisation using proven technologies and building its core capabilities with existing regulatory support to further its expansion. Between 2015 and 2018, the company pursued the second phase of its business development, GKO 2.0, under which it established GW-scale projects while achieving cost competitiveness in renewable power generation. In its third phase, GKO 3.0, between 2018 and 2020, the company’s core focus shifted to digitalisation and forecasting to improve the reliability and flexibility of its energy solutions. Currently, under GKO 4.0, Greenko aims to promote decentralisation of the grid as the energy value chain continues to move closer to the consumers.
In recent years, Greenko has been rapidly expanding its project pipeline through collaborations, partnerships and mergers. In April 2022, Greenko Wind Projects (Mauritius) Limited (GWPML), an indirect subsidiary of Greenko Energy Holdings, raised $750 million for an energy storage plant in Andhra Pradesh through a global bond offering. The bonds, which were given a BB rating by global rating agency Fitch Ratings, will mature in three years. The proceeds will be invested to repay the subsidiary’s existing rupee-denominated debt and the revenues of the US dollar bonds will be lent to a pumped storage project SPV in Andhra Pradesh, Pinnapuram PSP Company.
In March 2022, the Greenko Group signed two partnerships to augment its hydro energy storage pipeline. ArcelorMittal and the Greenko Group entered into a strategic partnership to construct a round-the-clock 975 MW nominal solar and wind project. The project entails an investment of $600 million and is expected to be commissioned by mid-2024. Greenko’s hydro pumped storage project will be utilised to overcome the intermittent nature of wind and solar power generation. Greenko is also responsible for designing, constructing and operating the renewable energy facilities, which will be based in Andhra Pradesh.
During the same month, Greenko entered into a partnership with the Adani Group to utilise the latter’s stand-alone long-duration hydro energy storage capacity for its facilities. Under the partnership, firm and despatchable renewable energy solutions, including round-the-clock power supply of up to 1 GW, will be supplied to the Adani Group’s proposed industrial complex in Gujarat, making it a one-of-a-kind green industrial complex globally. Greenko will provide 6 GWh of long-duration hydro storage capacity from its proprietary off-stream closed-loop pumped storage project under development in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.
Recently, Technip Energies also signed an MoU with ZeroC, another subsidiary of the Greenko Group, to explore opportunities for the development of green hydrogen projects in India. Technip is a France-based engineering company. The partnership will establish a build-own-operate model, wherein the two companies will explore green hydrogen-based opportunities across multiple sectors such as refining, petrochemicals, fertilisers, chemicals and power plants. Greenko will act as the operator and owner of the assets and Technip will support the projects to be undertaken at both pilot and commercial scales, with its engineering services, procurement and construction of green hydrogen and related projects.
In February 2022, the Greenko Group and Ayana Renewable Power collaborated to provide stand-alone storage capacity in India. Under this partnership, Greenko will provide 6,000 MWh of storage capacity in total, with 1,500 MWh in the first tranche originating from its off-stream closed-loop pumped storage project in Pinnapuram, Andhra Pradesh. The companies will collaborate to create robust and despatchable renewable energy solutions for industrial and distribution companies in India, including round-the-clock power supply of up to 1 GW. The Greenko Group also signed an agreement with John Cockerill, a Belgian manufacturer of alkaline electrolysers, in December 2021, to jointly develop market initiatives for green hydrogen electrolysers in India. The partnership is anticipated to facilitate the production of low-cost green hydrogen by enabling the supply of electrolysers on a large scale in India, within the next year. Greenko also announced its plans to build green ammonia export facilities in India that can produce up to 1 metric tonne per annum by 2025, requiring roughly 2 GW of electrolyser capacity. The partnership will support this endeavour, as John Cockerill is developing electrolysers with a capacity of over 6 MW. In March 2021, Japanese financial services company Orix Corporation acquired a 21.8 per cent stake in Greenko Energy Holdings in exchange of $961 million. As per the agreement, Orix also added 873 MW of its wind energy portfolio in India to Greenko’s portfolio in exchange for the shares.
Outlook and the way forward
Greenko is on the path of expansion and exponential growth, with rapid developments and recent partnerships in the renewable energy space. Despite being affected by the pandemic, Greenko managed to add 0.95 GW of capacity to its portfolio in financial year 2020-21. The company has kept pace with the emerging demands of the renewable energy market with new investments in energy storage and green hydrogen. It is developing multiple utility-scale, long-duration and low-cost pumped storage projects across India. Its IRESP in Pinnapuram is the largest gigawatt-scale integrated project that combines solar, wind and pumped storage components.
Plans for other integrated storage projects have also been laid out. The Saundatti IRESP has been envisaged with 2.66 GW of capacity, comprising 1.26 GW of stand-alone pumped storage, 1 GW of solar and 0.4 GW of wind energy. Another similar project with a generation capacity of 2.52 GW along with a storage capacity of 17.7 GWh has also been planned in Rajasthan. These projects have been strengthened by Greenko’s recent partnerships with Adani, Arcelor Mittal and Ayana Power.
As the company continues to diversify its portfolio, especially by exploring emerging opportunities such as green hydrogen and green ammonia, it is expected to hold a strong position in the Indian renewable energy market in the coming years.
By Kasvi Singh