Norway’s Climate Investment Fund and KLP invest in Indian transmission sector

The new Norwegian Climate Investment Fund, managed by Norfund, together with KLP, Norway’s largest pension company, to do its first investment of 900 million INR in an Indian transmission project being developed by ReNew Power.

In partnership with the ReNew Power, one of the largest renewable energy independent power producers (IPPs) in India and globally (NASDAQ: RNW) (Nasdaq: RNWWW), Norfund and KLP will invest around 900 million INR (109 million NOK) for 49% ownership stake in ReNew’s transmission project in the Koppal district of southern India, with ambitions for further joint investments.

To meet growth in electricity demand over the next twenty years, according to the IEA, India will need to add a power system the size of the EU. Scaling up solar and wind energy requires significant investments in transmission lines to stabilize the grid and transport energy from the areas most suitable for solar and wind parks.

“India succeeding in its green transition is key for the world to succeed in combating global warming. I’m glad Norway can contribute to enable expansion of renewables in India through investing in transmission lines,” says Norwegian Ambassador Hans Jacob Frydenlund.

 “Investment in the transmission sector provides synergies with our core RE portfolio and demonstrates our success in capital recycling. As a leader in India's energy transition, we are excited to partner with Norfund and KLP to support India’s green energy transition and look forward to strengthening this partnership in the future”, says Sumant Sinha, Chairman, and CEO of ReNew Power.

Connecting 2.5 GW renewable capacity

“Through this investment we are contributing to the connection of 2.5 GW of planned renewable power in the south being connected to the national grid. We are pleased to make Norfund’s and the Climate Investment Fund’s first investment in the sector, and we look forward to strengthening our partnership with Renew,” says Bjørnar Baugerud, Vice President, Clean Energy in Norfund.

The project will consist of a 5 x 500 MVA 400/220 kV sub-station at Koppal with 400 kV D/C quad moose transmission line from Koppal substation to Narendra New substation and 400 kV GIS Extn at Narendra New in Karnataka (Koppal Project). Its commercial operations are expected to start in the first quarter of FY24.

“This investment will reduce bottlenecks in the Indian transmission system and open the way for new renewable power generation to produce electricity to meet rising Indian demand. We expect the project to both generate attractive returns and have a strong climate impact,” says Aage Schaanning, Chief Financial Officer at KLP.

Third investment of the Climate investment fund in India

Operational since May, Norway’s new Climate Investment Fund, managed by Norfund, will reduce and avoid emissions by investing in renewable energy in developing countries with significant emissions from coal power and other fossil fuels. The fund has already made two previous investments in India – in a large-scale solar park with Enel and in Fourth Partner Energy, India’s leading developer of distributed solar energy solutions.

The new Norwegian Climate Investment Fund received 1 billion NOK in the state budget for 2022, matched by an equal sum from Norfund’s capital, and the Parliament has now approved another 1 billion for 2023. The plan is for the fund to reach 10 billion NOK within five years.

“Norfund has identified potential investments for over 8 billion NOK. Faced with the total needs, our contributions are moderate, but there are great possibilities for scaling up,” says Baugerud.

ReNew is one of the largest renewable energy IPPs in India. ReNew develops, builds, owns, and operates utility-scale wind energy, solar energy, and hydro projects. As of Nov 01, 2022, ReNew has a gross total portfolio of ~13.4 GW of renewable energy projects across India, including commissioned and committed projects.

According to IEA, yearly investments in renewable energy in developing countries needs to increase sevenfold from today’s 150 billion USD to over 1 trillion from 2026 to 2030, if we are to reach the 1.5-degree limit. At the same time a new report from Bloomberg NEF shows investments in renewable energy in these markets have fallen to the lowest level since 2016.