Colruyt Group of Belgium is planning a foray into the renewable energy space in India as an independent power producer in 2018.
“We have made up our mind to invest ₹800-1,000 crore over the next two years,” head of Indian Operations Hari Subramanian said, highlighting the growth potential in the sector. Of immense benefit for the move would be the capabilities of the group – it has an installed capacity of 0.6 GW.
A leading retailer of food and non-food products in Europe, the group has interests in IT, petrochemicals and renewable energy, especially wind energy.
In India, it has an IT development centre in Hyderabad employing about 425 people. Colruyt will look to install 100-150 MW renewable energy projects in India, beginning with wind energy. “We want to bring the group’s expertise into India. First 2-3 projects will be to learn and understand the market. From there [on] we are very open, be it offshore wind, hybrid with solar, storage… ready to explore all those opportunities,” he said on Friday.
Speaking on the sidelines of a Nasscom Foundation programme involving Colruyt Group’s Collibri Foundation, he said, south India would be location for the first set of projects comprising 30-50 MW farms each.
A separate company headquartered in Hyderabad, would be formed, he said, adding that work was under way to acquire space and talent. Unlike in Belgium, where the group develops RE projects on its means, including EPC, in India “we may more depend on the larger partners to help us with the turnkey model. To begin, we will leverage the eco-system, parallelly we will build our capabilities,” he explained.
Besides renewable energy, the group is keen to work on sectors involving start-ups. While how much it wants to invest would be known only in the first quarter of 2018, the group is clear on pursuing the opportunities. It intends to focus on start-ups in health tech, agri-tech and retail tech.
On how it would go about the task, he said: “We are looking at different [options]. We are looking at entrepreneurs and start-ups where we can come in India and really feel what’s going on in the start-up world… we can be an investor in the start-up community.”
The group will be entering the “market with the mindset of investing and learning whats happening in the start-up world. We really want to be there when things are happening and things are changing,” Mr.Subramanian said.