Financial institutions ‘keen but cautious’ on wind energy projects

Financial viability of distribution licensees, evacuation infrastructure gaps and project approvals are the constraints to utility-scale wind energy projects sourcing funds, according to senior executives in financial institutions and private equity funds.

As independent power producers take the lead in investing in the wind energy sector, the project viability is primarily dependent on their ability to sell power, even more so than incentives to attract investments.

Financial institutions are partial to projects based on feed-in (incentive) tariff because of the assured, long term revenue. But the ability of the distribution licensee to make the payment is key to sourcing funds, they said.

Mohan Kumar, Senior Director, Project Finance, IDFC, said that the ability of utilities to pay wind energy tariffs for the power supplied is the key to project viability.

In the IPP segment, equity and other funds are available. Debt too is available without major issues on competitive rates and tenor provided the investors take a `filtered’ and `measured approach’ to the project’s revenue model. Feed-in Tariff is the preferred option followed by control period based payments and captive power projects.

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