Apraava Energy: Growing its renewables portfolio through organic and inorganic routes

Founded in 2002, Apraava has witnessed major transitions in the power sector as the country focuses on increasing its renewable energy portfolio. The company, which has emerged as a major renewable independent power producer, has also realigned its strategies to meet the changing market requirements. In an interview with Renewable Watch, Haziq Beg, chief operating officer, Apraava Energy, talks about the company’s key achievements and future plans…

When was the company formed and who are the key investors in this company?

Founded in 2002, Apraava Energy is a di­ver­sified power company, jointly owned by the CLP Group, one of the largest in­ves­tor-owned power businesses in Asia, and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), a global investment gr­oup. It has evolved from being a single-asset company to a forward-looking, climate-conscious organisation.

What is the current portfolio of the company?

Our diverse portfolio comprises 3,150 MW of installed capacity, which includes 924 MW of wind energy and 250 MW of solar energy projects across seven states, four power transmission assets and an ad­van­ced me­tering infrastructure project in Ass­am. We are also developing a 250 MW wind power project at Sidhpur, Gujarat, whi­ch is expected to be commissioned this year. We have set a target to significantly expand our energy portfolio over the next th­ree to four years, and contribute to In­d­ia’s target of 500 GW renewable energy by 2030. Going ahead, we will only invest in low-carbon growth areas, including renewable energy, power transmission and distribution, as well as other non-generation, cus­­tomer-focused energy businesses.

What has been your experience in the Indian renewable energy market?

Apraava Energy has been a front runner in the renewable energy sector. We were am­ong the first companies to recognise the po­tential of renewable energy in India, as de­monstrated by our establishment of a wi­nd farm as early as 2009. We were the first power company in South­east Asia to issue a green bond and one of the early corporate partners of the International Solar Alliance. Currently, around 47 per cent of our total installed capacity is based on renewable en­ergy sources sp­read across seven states. We are working to strengthen this fu­rther through strategic investments. As part of the Government of India’s initiative for “Flexibility in Ge­ne­ration and Sche­du­ling of Thermal/Hydro Power Stations th­ro­ugh Bundling with Renewable Energy and Storage Power”, we are diligently pursuing the development of green power ca­pacity at our Jhajjar power plant. We are keen to gr­ow our renewable portfolio both by im­p­lementing greenfield proje­cts and exploring acquisition opportunities.

Could you shed some light on some of your key projects and deals?

Veltoor, a 100 MW solar project in the sou­thern Indian state of Telangana, is one of the key projects in Apraava’s renewable en­ergy portfolio. It was fully commissio­n­ed in the first quarter of 2018, marking an im­portant milestone for Apraava as its first solar project. It was completed without any lost-time incidents, even though it to­ok mo­re than 1 million man-hours to bu­ild. The company implemented cutting-edge te­­­ch­nology and systems at the plant. The company was awarded the world’s first-ever solar project quality certificate by DNV.

Equipped with the latest tracker technology, the solar panels align with the sun’s path through the day, maximising the energy captured by approximately 20 per cent. The plant’s auto­ma­tion sy­stem monitors the performance of each string of pa­nels, helping to maximise th­eir yield. In addition, the solar pla­nt helps avoid 126,429 ton­nes of CO2 emissions annually.

What are the key challenges faced in setting up a renewable energy project in India?

The power sector is currently undergoing a remarkable transformation globally, see­king to redefine the industry landscape. India has made significant strides in the renewable energy sector, positioning itself as a competitive player in the global rene­wable energy space. Ensuring an accelerated energy transition in the country is crucial for long-term energy security, price stability and national resilience. However, India faces a major challenge due to the uneven distribution of renewable energy sources across different regions. To ad­d­ress this, better coordination is needed in the flow of power across state-run grids, re­quiring substantial investments not only in renewable energy generation but also in the transmission and distribution sector to enhance and modernise the network.

Despite ongoing challenges, the Govern­ment of India is actively taking decisive me­a­sures to create a favourable and su­ppo­rtive ecosystem for renewable energy within the country. By implementing effective po­licies, India can unlock the full potential of renewable energy, and pa­ve the way for a sustainable and re­si­lient energy future.