Interview with Rajat Seksaria: “Investments in renewable energy will continue to soar”

“Investments in renewable energy will continue to soar”

As the Indian renewable energy sector matures and evolves, the focus of the government has shifted to building capabilities in emerging areas of growth such as green hydrogen, solar-wind hybrids and round-the-clock (RTC) power. Rajat Seksaria, chief executive officer, ACME Group, talks about the company’s recent achievements, plans in the green hydrogen and RTC space, as well as the future outlook…

What have been the key highs and lows for the company over the past one year?

The past year has been exciting with new developments. The ACME Group has won its first 50 MW grid-connected wind power project. This is a significant milestone as the company gears up to provide solar-wind hybrid and RTC renewable power. This is in line with the ACME Gro­up’s vision to become a prominent RTC renewable player. We are progressing on our large-scale green hydrogen and ammonia project in Oman. We have partnered with Norway-based Scatec ASA to invest in its Oman project with a 50:50 joi­nt venture, to design, develop, build and operate a large-scale green ammonia facility. A usufruct agreement has been signed with Oman. We have also signed a term sheet for offtake from the first phase of the green ammonia facility in Oman. In India, we have signed an agreement with the Tamil Nadu government to set up green hydrogen and green ammonia projects in the state. We have also signed MoUs with the governments of Karnataka and Egypt to set up green hydrogen and green ammonia projects.

How have the Russia-Ukraine conflict and current global inflationary tendencies impa­cted the company’s operations and approa­ch?

The developments in Russia and Ukrai­ne have certainly had an adverse impact on global economies. It is for all countries as there are disruptions in trade and commodity prices are moving nor­th­wards. All of us are facing high inflation, which is al­so leading to the tightening of credit and inc­re­ase in interest rates. We are carefully ob­serving the scenarios. As of now, there has been no im­pact on our upcoming projects.

How has your experience been in the green ammonia segment? What are the key pros­pects and challenges with respect to green ammonia in India?

We target to have a portfolio of 10 mtpa of green ammonia projects in India and ov­erseas by 2030. We are progressing with our plan. Of course, there are challenges as this is a new segment. The am­monia market traditionally has been driven by spot or short-term contracts. For the first time, we have signed a lo­ng-term contract for the delivery of gre­en ammonia. Glo­bally, there are challenges including the cost of green am­mo­nia and environmental credentials. Recently, the US has anno­un­ced subsidies under the Inflation Re­d­uction Act and this would certainly impact the global energy market.

Apart from green hydrogen and ammonia, which other emerging segment is the company currently focusing on?

The ACME Group is working towards be­co­ming a global energy solution provider. We are building our capabilities to offer competitive RTC energy solutions to customers in India and overseas.

What is your perspective on the renewable energy se­ctor’s current investment climate? 

Investments in renewable energy will continue to soar high, not just in  India, but also globally. This is primarily driven by the ob­jective to reduce carbon emissions. We expect that the next few years will witness several bilateral green energy investme­nts. The renewable energy sector is riding on the high momentum of evolving technologies. Bringing affordable RTC green po­wer to consumers is the key. Simply put, the future growth in energy investments co­uld be driven primarily by renewable energy and decarbonisation technologies.

What are your key concerns as an independent power producer? What strategic app­ro­a­­ch would you recommend to enable India to meet its ambitious 2030 targets?

One of the concerns is to maintain affordable electricity prices for consumers, maintaining the financial stability of discoms. India has an aggressive target to pump more renewable energy into the grid. This is possible with evolving technologies for storage and hybrid projects. We also expect the government to anno­unce a production-linked incentive sche­me for green ammonia, which will be crucial to meet India’s long-term zero-emission targets.