Norway’s Climate Investment Fund invests €56m in Indian waste-to-energy firm

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The new Norwegian Climate Investment Fund, managed by Norfund, has announced it is investing 600 million NOK (€56m) in equity in SAEL, an Indian solar and agri waste-to-energy company. The organisation said the investment will contribute to avoiding more than 2.8 million tons of CO2 emissions and improving air quality by reducing stubble burning.
Each year farmers in Northern India are forced to burn crop stubble in their fields to remove paddy residue, resulting in severe air pollution in the region.
SAEL, an emerging renewable company in India, said it has developed a business model whereby crop residues are used as fuel in waste-to-energy projects. As the country's largest waste-to-energy producer, SAEL currently has over 20 projects both operating and under construction in the agri waste-to-energy and solar spaces.
The investment from Norfund was announced in New Delhi on 15 January, and the goal is to support SAEL's ambition to grow its portfolio to 3GW over the next five years by adding 100MW of new biomass and 400MW of new solar capacity annually, in addition to its existing portfolio of 600 MW.
“By collecting the crop stubble to be used as fuel in our waste-to-energy plants, we contribute to combat 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”, said Jasbir Awla, chairman and managing director of SAEL Limited.
Mark Davis, EVP 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 reduce climate emissions and local pollution, while contributing to meet India’s energy needs.”
“This investment not only increases the access to clean energy and improves incomes for farmers but can also reduce stubble burning related air pollution. I am happy that Norway can contribute to this through our new climate investment fund,” concluded Norwegian Ambassador Hans Jacob Frydenlund.

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