Slapping safeguard duty on solar imports may not work: Sanjay Aggarwal, Fortum India

Finland-based energy company Fortum is working aggressively to implement its plan to i nvest up to Euro 400 million in India. The domestic renewable energy sector is facing some headwinds but the long-term outlook is bullish, Sanjay Aggarwal, Managing Director of Fortum India and the Global Head for Solar Power at Fortum, tells Sudheer Pal Singh in an exclusive interview. Edited excerpts..

How does Fortum view the renewable energy market and what has been its key focus areas? 
Globally, Fortum has been operating in the CO2-free space. We have a lot of hydro, gas and nuclear power capacities back in our traditional home markets– across Finland, Sweden, Norway, Russia etc. Entering into solar was a first step towards entering the renewable energy segment. We publicly declared in 2016 that we would invest between Euro 200 million and Euro 400 million in India in the solar power sector. Before that, we had bought a small operating plant to understand the technology and learn. Once we acquired necessary competencies, we went on to construct our own 10 MW plant in MP. We subsequently bid for Bhadla power plant in Rajasthan and Pavagada project in Karnataka. We wanted to see the construction cycle of the bigger plants too. We have an appetite of taking around 200-250 MW capacity projects every year. Of course, it has to meet our internal criteria of returns. We have so far focused specifically on solar plants within the solar parks where the counter parties are SECI or NTPC. Now we are open to look at states which have better credit ratings. In some states, we would be willing to look beyond solar parks and beyond SECI and NTPC as well.

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