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I had the opportunity to be a speaker at the Renewable Energy Finance conference and seminar at Singapore a few months back. As many folks wanted me to post it as a blog (which I had earlier sent as a newsletter), here goes.

Originally I was asked to co-ordinate a workshop in which I would be meeting with a few people interested in investing in the Indian renewable energy sector. But I was later asked if I could also present at the conference that came after the workshop.

My presentation focussed on the renewable energy sectors with potential in India, details of investments into these sectors, and also the opportunities opening up in the revamping of the electricity grid.

I am providing the highlights and the key take-aways from the event.

1. The workshop was attended by about 10 people; this group comprised 3-4 investors (private equity companies and banks), while the rest were either from government departments or companies keen on knowing more about investing in renewable energy, and not always specifically in the Indian context.

2. The key inputs that the attendees wanted were the potential for India for various renewable energy sectors, the government incentives for the sector, and the costs and cost breakdowns for each sector. I provided these details for the following renewable energy domains: solar PV, solar CSP, wind (onshore), biofuels, biomass-based power, geothermal, small hydro and large hydro. Most interest was for solar (both PV and CSP), biomass-based power and small hydro.

3. The conference was attended by about 70 delegates, with a majority of them from the investing community. That was a bit surprising, as I would have thought that those who needed the money would be present in as high a number (if not higher) than those who had it. But well, there it is! I was able to collect a lot of useful inputs from the conference as the speakers represented both the invested community (mostly private equity companies) and the investee community (developers of renewable energy projects).

4. The overall impression I had of the investing community was that they are keen on investing in renewable energy (in India as well as elsewhere) but would like better clarity on the risks involved and the exit route. As expected, most PE firms would rather not get in very early but wait until a growth stage had been reached. The developer/investee community were as expected bullish about their sectors, but I felt some of them still were not entirely sure about the how to make their projects far more cost competitive – it’s of course well known that government incentives are the key to make these projects economically sustainable, but some insights on how these projects could eventually stand on their own would have been very useful.

It was thus a very useful three days I spent in Singapore (not to forget the fourth day when I took time off and went round the city in a hop-on-hop-off bus trip – some pictures from my shoots on sustainability in Singapore – http://www.enexions.com/diary.php?id=117&act_id=29 ).

If you are interested in obtaining the presentation I made at the conference, please send a note to me ( Narasimhan Santhanam) – narsi@clixoo.com .