Norfund to Invest $60 Million in Indian Waste-to-Energy Company SAEL

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Norway’s development finance institution Norfund said it will invest about NOK 600 million (~$60.5 million) in the Indian solar and agricultural waste-to-energy company SAEL.

The investment will help SAEL support its target of growing its renewables portfolio to 3 GW by 2028 by adding 100 MW of new biomass and 400 MW of new solar capacity annually to its existing portfolio of 600 MW.

SAEL has developed a new business model under which crop remains are used as fuel in waste-to-energy projects. The company has over 20 operating and under-construction projects using clean energy sources like solar to convert waste into energy.

The focus of the investment is centered on helping New Delhi and the surrounding states minimize air pollution that worsens as the fine particulate matter in the air increases.  Stubble burning by farmers to remove crop residue has been one of the reasons for an increase in particulate matter in the air.

The investment will help SAEL mitigate 2.8 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

Chairman and Managing Director of SAEL Jasbir Awla said, “By collecting the crop stubble to be used as fuel in our waste-to-energy plants, we contribute to combating one of our nation’s greatest health issues, while at the same time creating local employment and extra income to farmers and local entrepreneurs. This partnership with Norfund will fast track implementation of these projects, making us one of the leaders in this space.”

Mark Davis, Executive Vice President of Renewable Energy at Norfund said, “We are thrilled to be able to contribute with the necessary financing for SAEL to reach its ambitions and contribute to reducing climate emissions and local pollution while contributing to meet India’s energy needs.”

Earlier this month, Norfund and Norway’s largest pension fund KLP announced an investment of NOK109 million (~$10.85 million) for a 49% ownership stake in ReNew Power’s Karnataka-based transmission project. Norfund will help ReNew by contributing to the connection of 2.5 GW of clean power in South India being connected to the country’s grid.

Last August, Norfund and KLP inked an agreement to acquire a 49% stake in a 420 MW solar power project in Rajasthan.