The Government wants to portray the ultra mega power projects as most technologically advanced.

India hopes to attract foreign investors for each of 4,000 MW ultra mega power projects to come up at Bhedabahal in Odisha and Cheyyur in Tamil Nadu.

At present, the bidding process for the power projects, each of which would cost nearly Rs 24,000 crore, is open and expected to be allotted by February.

Power Finance Corporation Ltd (PFC), the nodal agency for auctioning of ultra mega projects, held diplomatic talks with nearly 12 countries — Germany, France, the UK, Turkey, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Denmark, Australia, Israel, Netherlands, Spain and Sweden.

Last week, a team of PFC officials made a detailed presentation on ultra mega projects to diplomats from these countries. “In the next round, power or finance companies from these countries are likely to discuss the modalities with PFC,” a senior official, privy to the discussions, told Business Line.

India allows 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) in power generation. The Government wants to portray the ultra mega power projects as most technologically advanced and one of the best investment opportunities in the country.

However, India is not offering any special dispensation to foreign players. The successful bidders for the projects would be decided purely on bidding parameters put in place by the Government.

“A global road show for the ultra mega power projects is scheduled on October 25 in Singapore,” the official said. A pre-bidder conference would be held in New Delhi on October 15.

While the Odisha project will be based on domestic coal, the Tamil Nadu project would be fired from imported fuel. The Government believes that it is offering investment-friendly parameters for these projects and claims to have cleared major regulatory hurdles required for setting up of mega power projects.

In August, the revised Standard Bidding Documents were given the go-ahead by an empowered group of Ministers. “The fuel charge is no longer a bid parameter. That takes away most of the variable risks of the project. Moreover, land, water and environment clearances have already been acquired for the project,” the official added.

At present, India has awarded four ultra mega power projects — one to Tata Power and three to Reliance Power. So far, only Tata Power’s project at Mundra in Gujarat is fully operational. The last auctioning round saw about six-seven bids from companies based in China and Singapore.

siddhartha.s@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on October 13, 2013)
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