GAIL, India’s largest gas utility, is set to bid for a 400 megawatts (MW) solar power capacity being auctioned by SECI (formerly Solar Energy Corporation of India), making it the latest state-run company to make an entry into the renewable energy (RE) space.
GAIL’s Chairman Manoj Jain told Times of India that the company will bid for three photovoltaic solar projects totalling 400 MW capacity being auctioned in Rewa, Madhya Pradesh.
For GAIL funds are not a concern, as the utility has no debts.
According to a senior official of GAIL, the public sector undertaking has been keen to enter the RE sector as they believe that is a necessity to adopt new and different pathways to provide clean, cost-effective, and efficient mobility services that are safe, reduce dependence on oil imports and achieve more efficient land-use in cities with the least environmental footprints.
Earlier, GAIL had bid for a Rs 4,800 MW operational wind power project of ILFS in 2019. But ILFS’s other partner used the first right of refusal. Otherwise, it would have made a good renewable portfolio.
GAIL has a debt-equity ratio of 1:0.14 and total debt of Rs 5,990 crore.
GAIL had in March 2019 tied up with state-run power gear maker BHEL for renewables foray. Both companies have left the arrangement open on the choice of equipment for projects. The tie-up was aimed at leveraging the competitive strengths of both companies. GAIL will be the project developer and BHEL will be the project manager and EPC (engineering, procurement contractor) contractor.
So far GAIL has been slow among its peers in renewables investment. The company had in January 2018 commissioned a 5 MW rooftop solar power plant, India’s second-largest, atop two warehouses at Pata petrochemicals complex in UP.