He said India sits “very high” on the company’s priority list and EDF could do better here if some problem areas in the sector are addressed. “I am not saying it is not moving because you have a lot of investment. You cannot say that nothing is being done, but the acceleration that is needed in order to meet the objectives of 175 GW will be more efficient and less costly to everybody if they can be harmonised,” Lévy told ET.
Commenting on the financial viability of projects after aggressive bids from developers, he said, “I think in many regions of the world, not only in India, one has to look at what is the scorecard from various players. When they win a tender, do you have an installation two years later or not?” Lévy was referring to concerns over approvals in some states and the viability and sanctity of power purchase agreements that govern renewable energy projects in India. He said India’s decision to shift towards renewable energy in the midst of its growth story is promising.
“I think India has made a very mature decision to understand that growth and energy transition can be friends, that you can have a 7% growth and build on the energy transition that will also sustain that growth, that will feed the growth,” he said. With capacity of 500 MW across wind and solar projects in India, EDF plans to develop another 1,500 MW in a few years.
Lévy said if regulations are coordinated, EDF could implement its plans faster. “We are investing and happy to do so. But we’ve been focussing more than we would on a few states where we understand well how it works such as Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh. We could do better if it was not so complex,” he added.
EDF is also setting up a longpending nuclear power project in Jaitapur in Maharashtra. India and France have signed an agreement that prescribes the way forward for implementation of the Jaitapur nuclear power project. A contract is expected to be ready by the end of the year, Lévy said.
He suggested that with carbon dioxide emissions rising across the world, nuclear power could well replace coal in providing base-load power as long as cheap storage solutions are unavailable in the clean energy segment. The Jaitapur project is set to be the biggest nuclear project in the world, with a total capacity of almost 10 GW, EDF said. Lévy said that it would be a “mistake” for anybody at his level to not be watching an evolving market such as India and EDF will actively look at acquisition opportunities here.