Indian billionaire Gautam Adani plans to invest $2 billion to build a 2,500 megawatt power plant in Odisha state, which would raise group capacity by a quarter and boost supply in a country where a third of the population still goes without power.
A college dropout and self-made entrepreneur, Adani has built a power, mining and ports giant with revenue of nearly $9 billion. Among his latest purchases in an expansion spree was the $327 million acquisition of a power plant from Lanco Infratech earlier this month.
The Adani Group, the largest private power producer in India, expects to sign a pact with the Odisha government in four months to set up a new plant, said Rajesh Jha, who looks after the group's mining business in the state.
The conglomerate plans to generate 1,000 megawatt (MW) of electricity by 2017 in Odisha, ramping up to full capacity by 2019, Jha told Reuters on Monday.
The plant will source coal from two blocks it is developing in Odisha with a total capacity of 70 million tonnes per year.
"We expect to start coal mining in two years," Jha said, adding that the power plant would require 25 million tonnes of coal per year at full capacity.
The Adani Group, controlled by flagship Adani Enterprises , currently has 9,240 MW of power capacity at its plants in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan states, according to a company presentation.
It imports about 100 million tonnes of coal a year mainly from Indonesia to feed the plants.
Its inbound shipments of coal could double by 2020, Jha said. Many Indian power producers are forced to rely heavily on imports as state monopoly Coal India Ltd has struggled to raise output fast enough to meet demand.
Newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi's plans to provide power to all will further raise imports.