Renewable energy is one of the fastest growing power generation sectors across the world, continuing to grow rapidly alongside natural gas.
Since entering the solar market in 2008, Amec Foster Wheeler has delivered nearly 700 megawatts of solar engineering, procurement and construction projects in the US. The company’s success in delivering substantial projects has established it as a major player within the industry – this can be seen with recent contracts awarded with utilities such as Dominion and Sempra US Gas & Power.
Amec Foster Wheeler also has the world’s largest 100 per cent fired Biomass plant in the world – the Polaniec Power Station located in Poland. The company has close to 1,000 personnel located in India, the location of the company’s High Value Execution Centre, which is well positioned to support a range of Clean Energy projects across the globe. India is third largest power generator and carbon emitter, behind China and US, with the majority of its generation capacity coal fired – the environmental and social impacts of which are significant.
With just 1 per cent of the required power, that’s 3 gigawatts (GW), currently supplied by solar and with the country expected to be the most populous in the world by 2030, there are now moves towards a reform of the energy sector. The Indian government recently set an ambitious goal of adding 100 GW (over $100 billion investment) of solar capacity and 75 GW from other renewable sources by 2022. This could make India one of the largest solar power markets in the world.
As with anywhere in the world, India will need to work through its internal policies and external trade policies, including its approach to support financing the projects. Improvement in power capacity will take time and the oversupply of domestic power plant equipment is expected to drive fierce competition. India is also one of the most cost sensitive power markets in the world, with the high cost of renewable power coal power, an ongoing challenge.
Saying this, doubling or tripling the output to 6-9 GW over the next four years is certainly a reasonable goal. India has established manufacturing centres to support the solar industry and two distinct potential solar markets – utility scale and small distributed solar units on rooftops – potentially enabling significant opportunity for the future.
Samir Brikho is the chief executive of British consultancy, engineering and project management firm Amec Foster Wheeler, which has its India operations in Kolkata and Chennai. The £3.5-billion market capitalised company designs, delivers and maintains strategic and complex assets for its energy customers around the world.