Brushing aside worries over any spillover effect of SunEdison’s debt woes on India’s solar power plans, Renewable Energy Minister Piyush Goyal today set the record straight, saying some firms not doing well will not impact the programme’s success. “There are always certain cases of firms failing all over the world in every industry. There was a point of time where very large airline companies failed in different parts of the world. You have a failed steel sector in the UK. It doesn’t mean that the whole sector collapses,” he said when asked about the debt problems being faced by SunEdison. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of an event organised by industry body CII here late yesterday, Goyal said there are one or two instances of companies which don’t do well or may have some problems.
“But it’s not as if only these one or two firms brought the tariffs down. We have 50 companies who brought tariffs down even below what Sun Edison or Sky Power quoted. So, I don’t think it deters us or deflects the success of the solar programme at all,” the minister said. India has very large corporations, both domestic and international, which have won contacts in the solar energy field at even more competitive prices than (Sun Edison and Sky Power), added Goyal, who also holds the portfolio of power and coal. “And should there be a problem with one or two companies, others will take over those projects… Investors need not be worried about it, bankers are not worried about it. There is enough interest in the market for much larger volumes than what they have taken up in India.” Earlier this month, reports had surfaced that the Adani group is in talks with the US-based renewable energy major SunEdison to acquire the latter’s Indian assets.
The group led by billionaire Gautam Adani has asked bankers to sound it out on whether SunEdison is also putting on the block its solar power projects in India. On the use of coal to generate electricity, Goyal said the dry fuel will continue to be important. “It’s the base load of power in India. We will continue to have coal and newer coal plants coming in. But India is a very responsible global citizen and we working on clean coal technologies,” he added. “We have research going on with Australia on clean coal. I will shortly be tying up with MIT in Cambridge for developing clean coal technologies… Coal will remain mainstay of our energy, but we are open to looking at cleaner coal technologies so that we don’t do what the West has done to the environment over the last 150 years.