NTPC: Anchors strongly in turbulence – Gurdeep Singh, CMD, NTPC

The power business worldwide is in a flux and India too has felt this impact at some level. With falling equipment prices and power project tariffs, the traditional calculations have somewhat become irrelevant. NTPC, the largest power generation company is in the eye of this storm and has had its policies scrutinised by sector observers. Gurdeep Singh, CMD of the company discusses the sector storms and the company’s plans with R N Bhaskar and Pankaj Joshi.

Today sector is looking at a huge disruption worldwide. What is your take on this?

Undoubtedly, renewable power or carbon-free energy is a good development. NTPC is also striving to have a role in this. Our objective, in line with national priorities, is that each citizen should have power as much as required and at affordable cost. For that, all types of energy will be needed. Plus for free flow of power, the grid is needed. As a business, we have to generate electricity at the affordable locations and then take it where it is needed. In this, we definitely see more addition in the renewable capacity going ahead. At sectoral level, a policy reconsideration is inevitable and it has already been on for some time.

In a time of falling tariffs for renewable energy projects, how do you assess their viability?

Low tariffs should not bother anyone. An environment of transparent practices and low tariffs should make all very happy. The equipment prices are falling for a while now which is getting reflected in tariffs. Let us remember that in renewable energy two factors are vital— namely capital cost and cost of capital. Both are currently in a soft phase.

Our primary task in a project is to take care of quality of construction, quality of equipment installed and ensure uptime and long-term durability. With the way equipment prices have dropped, today for us a unit price of Rs 3.25 is viable at renewable project level.

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