India: Generating energy from crop waste

Innovative energy investments

Zurich, 22 October 2015 – India’s demand for energy far exceeds the supply within the country. With innovative business models, local companies such as Punjab Renewable Energy Systems (PRES) are seeking to ensure that renewable energy sources can also be used to meet this demand. PRES was recently named ‘the most innovative power company (renewable power, private sector)‘ by the Indian publication ‘Power Today‘ in conjunction with PricewaterhouseCoopers. An investment vehicle managed by the Swiss asset manager responsAbility Investments has invested in PRES since 2012.

India is the world’s second most populous country and has one of the fastest-growing economies globally. This economic development is fuelling the constant rise in the demand for energy in a nation where 300 million people lack electricity while the peak deficit is more than 10 percent¹.

In India, coal still accounts for 69% of the country‘s energy production, while the contribution from renewable energies is only 13%. One of the reasons why the potential of biomass has not been properly captured is the lack of reliable supply chains. The Indian company PRES has specialised in this area since 2008: It collects crop waste in rural parts of India through a network of village level entrepreneurs and then delivers it to existing biomass power stations where it is used as fuel. This not only allows unexploited energy reserves to be put to use but also helps to reduce CO2 emissions, since more than 90% of the biomass left over from the harvest is currently burned in the fields.

The biomass pioneer PRES is headquartered in Mumbai and currently operates from four locations but is continuously expanding. An investment vehicle managed by responsAbility Investments AG, which specialises in development investments, has invested in PRES since 2012. Rik Vyverman, Head Ventures Equity at responsAbility, commented: “For responsAbility, PRES is an attractive investment that not only has the potential to deliver sound financial returns but to also have a positive impact on development and the climate.”

Monish Ahuja, Managing Director of PRES, explained: “This recognition means a great deal to us – especially since we are still a relatively young company. responsAbility deserves a special mention in this context. Its team recognised the potential of our business model at an early stage and has since supported us in our growth through its role as an active shareholder.”

¹ Sheoli Pargal and Sudeshna Ghosh Banerjee: “More Power to India: The Challenge of Electricity Distribution”, The World Bank, 2014.

Contact

responsAbility Investments AG 
Ulli Janett, Media Relations
Telephone: +41 44 250 67 15
e-mail: ulli.janett [at] responsAbility.com

About Punjab Renewable Energy Systems Pvt. Ltd. (PRES)
Headquartered in Mumbai, Punjab Renewable Energy Systems Pvt Ltd. ensures a functioning biomass supply chain by collecting biomass through a network of village level entrepreneurs and delivering it to power stations and manufacturing companies. The biomass serves as alternative to fossil fuels, generating cost savings and reducing emissions in the process. A responsibility-managed investment vehicle has held a stake in PRES since 2012.

About Power Today
Launched in 2008, Power Today features news and information about the Indian and global power generation, transmission and distribution sectors. In addition to comprehensive in-depth analysis, Power Today features interviews with leading figures from the industry, updates about government programmes, and reports on projects, statistics, technologies and key commercial developments.

About responsAbility Investments AG
responsAbility Investments AG is one of the world’s leading asset managers in the field of development investments and offers professionally managed investment solutions to both private and institutional investors. The company supplies debt and equity financing to non-listed firms in emerging economies and developing countries. 

responsAbility currently has USD 2.9 billion of assets under management invested in over 500 companies in 93 countries. Founded in 2003, the company is headquartered in Zurich and has local offices in Bangkok, Geneva, Hong Kong, Lima, Luxembourg, Mumbai, Nairobi, Oslo and Paris. Its shareholders include a number of reputable institutions in the Swiss financial market as well as its own employees. responsAbility is regulated by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority FINMA.

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