Coal India to Diversify into Aluminium and Solar Power
Coal India Limited (CIL), the state-owned coal mining and refining company, will be diversifying its operations and will foray into Aluminium, Photovoltaic cell and module manufacturing, and Solar power sectors.
CIL’s Plans to Enter the Alumium Sector with a Greenfield Integrated Project
As per Coal Ministry’s Action Plan for 2022-23, Coal India Ltd.’s plans to enter the Aluminium sector entail the setting up of a greenfield integrated Aluminium project in Odisha which covers mining of Bauxite, Alumina refining processes, smelting operations and setting up the associated Captive Power Plant (CPP).
In this regard, a Pre-Feasibility Report (PFR) submitted by the consultancy firm Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP was approved by Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd. (MCL) on 24th September 2021. MCL is an Odisha-based subsidiary of CIL. This report was further approved by the CIL board. As of 30th November 2021, a Request For Quote (RFQ) has been floated to find potential equity partners for the development of CIL’s greenfield integrated Aluminium project. Coal India’s proposal for this project in Odisha was then cleared by the High-Level Clearance Authority (HLCA) headed by the Chief Minister of Odisha on 21st December 2021.
As per the Action Plan for 2022-23 published by Ministry of Coal, Government of India, on 31st May 2022, Coal India had applied for a suitable Bauxite block in Odisha. This Bauxite block will either be at Sijimali or Kutrumali. Coal India is awaiting environmental clearance and approval for the same. Moreover, the company has conducted a site visit at Rayagada for its proposed Alumina refinery, and Neulapoi for the proposed Smelter and Captive Power Plant.
Several players in the Indian Aluminium industry, including Vedanta and Hindalco, have shown interest in CIL’s integrated Aluminium project.
Earlier, CIL’s plan to diversify into Aluminium sector involved setting up a joint venture (JV) between National Aluminium Company (NALCO) and MCL. NALCO and MCL were to hold equity in the ratio of 26:74 in the JV respectively. However, the decision to form this JV was dropped in August 2021, following which the idea of Coal India’s greenfield integrated Aluminium project was conceived.
Coal India to Diversify into Solar PV Manufacturing and Solar Power Generation
Coal India – Solar PV Manufacturing
Coal India plans to enter Solar Photovoltaic module manufacturing, and has applied for the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for setting up solar manufacturing units announced by the Union Government.
Earlier, in April 2021, CIL formed two new subsidiaries to venture into solar energy. CIL Solar PV Ltd. was incorporated for the manufacturing of solar value chain, while CIL Navikarniya Urja Limited was formed for renewable energy projects.
As of now, CIL is in the process of evaluating potential locations for its PV manufacturing plant. Kadappa in Andhra Pradesh, Dholera in Gujarat and Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu have been mentioned as tentative locations for the company’s PV manufacturing plant in its application under the PLI scheme.
For CIL’s PV manufacturing venture, after floating the Request For Quote (RFQ), BHEL and ReNew Solar (Shakti Four) Private Limited have emerged as potential equity partners.
Coal India – Solar Power Generation
Coal India Limited has set a target of achieving 3,000 MW solar power generation capacity by 2023-24 towards becoming a net-zero company by 2024. The company’s entry into solar power generation would aid it in achieving its decarbonisation targets. In November 2020, Coal India had announced that it would be investing Rs. 5,650 crore by March 2024 in 14 solar power generation projects for achieving its solar power generation target.
In this direction, in 2021 CIL invited tenders for a 100 MW solar project in Gujarat.
About Coal India Limited: Kolkata-headquartered Coal India Limited is owned by Ministry of Coal, Government of India, and is the largest coal producer in the world. CIL has been categorized as a Maharatna Public Sector Undertaking.