Gupta family makes strategic investment in UK and Indian tidal lagoon programme
Gupta family interests, which have been investing heavily in UK energy and industrial assets over recent months, have today (1st February) committed to an eight-figure investment over time in the development of tidal lagoon power plant in the UK and India.
The move is part of a wider strategy by Gupta company, SIMEC, to create multi-billion pound renewable energy capacity worldwide and apply innovative technologies to provide low-cost power for energy-intensive industries, particularly steel.
The past year has seen SIMEC and sister company, Liberty House, acquire extensive power generation, steel production and engineering capacity across the UK, including the 393megawatt Uskmouth Power Station at Newport.
The investment agreed today (1st February) gives Gupta interests a substantial stake in Tidal Lagoon Plc, a holding company established by Tidal Lagoon Power Ltd to finance the development of full-scale tidal lagoons in UK and international waters.
The world-first Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon will open up for the UK the option of delivering a programme of larger lagoons. Tidal Lagoon Power is pursuing five such schemes that, combined with the Swansea Bay project, could meet 8% of UK electricity demand for 120 years.
Proposed schemes at Cardiff and Newport, for which planning applications are expected in 2017 and 2018 respectively, represent some 4,000MW of lagoon power and £10 billion of capital investment.
Gupta family representative, Sanjeev Gupta said: “We are very pleased to invest in this ambitious and innovative enterprise that promises to provide low-carbon, baseload energy and drive economic renewal through the development of a high-value supply chain that will create thousands of new jobs. As a group we are expanding internationally on several fronts and renewable energy is right at the heart of that expansion.”
Today’s agreement also leads to the creation of a joint venture between the Guptas’ global energy and commodities company, SIMEC, and Tidal Lagoon Power to develop largescale tidal lagoons in India.
In November, Prime Ministers Cameron and Modi signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen cooperation in energy, including clean energy, while, earlier this month, India joined the UK in the International Energy Agency’s Ocean Energy Systems intergovernmental collaboration programme.
The first feasibility studies will be conducted in the Gulf of Khambhat under the terms of a Memorandum of Understanding that Tidal Lagoon Power is to establish with the Government of Gujarat at the invitation of the Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, whose Government has expressed great interest in the scope for tidal lagoons in the state.
Andrew Manley, executive director at Tidal Lagoon Power, said: “Just like the Severn Estuary and Liverpool Bay here in the UK, the Gulf of Khambhat holds vast potential for the generation of power from tidal lagoons. We’re looking forward to working with SIMEC to better understand the natural resource in Gujarat and shape our commercial plans accordingly. Back in the UK, we welcome the Gupta family to our investor base at an extremely exciting time for the sector.”
Jay Hambro, chief executive of SIMEC’s energy and mining divisions said: “We are investing in tidal lagoon as part of a wider strategy to expand our involvement in the renewable sector globally. It’s a very exciting development for us because we see huge potential for renewables in the energy mix and, as such, it will be a substantial part of our business going forward.
“The scope presented by tidal lagoons for economic growth and job creation in Wales and the UK is clear, and, in partnership with Tidal Lagoon Power, we are also talking to authorities in India about exporting tidal power technology from the UK to develop projects there,” he added.
He explained that SIMEC’s substantial land holding on the Severn Estuary at Newport provided a strong basis for the development of a tidal lagoon and other renewable energy capacity there. SIMEC restarted the mothballed Uskmouth Power Station in June 2015 as a coal-fired facility but intends eventually to convert the installation to biomass generation.
SIMEC and Liberty House currently have assets covering energy, commodities and manufacturing across five continents and have bases in around 30 countries.
Since October Liberty has restarted a mothballed steel rolling mill at Newport and saved nearly 1,000 jobs through the acquisition of former Caparo companies in the UK West Midlands.
Gupta family interests have also entered agreement to acquire the Tungsten Bank which they aim to reshape as a challenger bank championing investment in industry, energy and commodities.