India's JSW Energy to set up power plant in South Africa

Integrated power generator JSW Energy, looking for suitable acquisitions inside India, is planning to set up a 450-600-MW coal-fired plant in South Africa where the power sector is opening up for investment.

"We are interested in acquiring power projects in India. The sector will now see only serious long-term players. Many of the new players have put on hold their projects or are going slow," Navraj Singh, senior vice president, business development, JSW Energy, told IANS here.

According to him, the decision on target companies would depend on the total package, whether land acquisition has been done and the like.

Many of the domestic power projects have hit the roadblock and only long-term players can continue in this space, say sector analysts.

"There are small power projects in the south facing issues of fuel linkage/supplies. For JSW Energy, the path for faster growth is through acquisitions. The kind of projects that would entice the company would be those having land on hand but not fuel linkage, or strong balance sheet to look for other options like imports or going in for own coal mine," an analyst not wanting to be named told IANS.

Meanwhile, JSW Energy, with a domestic generation capacity of 2,600 MW, is planning to put up a pit head power plant in South Africa where it has a 0.5 million tonne coal mine.
"South Africa's power sector is now opening up. We have a mine there and are looking at setting up a power plant with a capacity ranging between 450 MW and 600 MW. We are also looking at additional mines in South Africa," Singh said.

President Jacob Zuma last week ruled out nationalisation of South Africa's massive mining sector and  announced ambitious infrastructure projects that would generate jobs.

According to Singh, the company's new projects in India are progressing at a good pace.

"Land acquisition process is on for our Chattisgarh power project (2x660 MW). We will need about 300 acres. The project has got environmental clearance and water allocation.

"In West Bengal, we are putting up a 300-MW captive power plant for our steel mill. In the second phase we will put up a 1,320-MW (2x660 MW) project which will be an independent power producer (IPP) project," Singh said.

He said the company was also setting up a 240-MW hydel power project at Kuther in Himachal Pradesh for which land acquisition is under progress and bids for civil works are being evaluated.

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