NEW DELHI, Oct. 13 (UPI) -- GE Energy Financial Services will invest $50 million to form a joint venture with Indian clean energy developer Greenko Group for 500 megawatts of wind projects in India.
Greenko committed $65 million for the venture, to be called Greenko Wind Project Private Ltd., a subsidiary of Greenko.
Greenko is developing a pipeline of wind projects, which the new venture will own, including a 65-megawatt wind farm in Maharashtra scheduled for completion in December. That project will use GE's 1.6 megawatt turbines to be assembled at GE's Pune, India, facility.
"Wind power is an increasingly important part of the Indian energy market and through our partnership with GE, a global energy leader, we are well positioned to play an important role in helping to meet the country's energy needs with clean power using advanced technology," Anil Kumar Chalamalasetty, chief executive and managing director of Greenko, said in a statement.
More than 400 million Indians -- one-third of the population -- don't have access to electricity, says the International Energy Agency. The country's energy consumption is expected to more than double by 2035.
GE says the planned 500 megawatts of wind power could generate enough energy to provide for 875,000 Indian households.
"This investment expands GE's presence in one of the world's fastest growing power markets with a local, proven renewable energy developer," said Raghuveer Kurada, managing director and leader of India at GE Energy Financial Services, noting that GE has a $6 billion portfolio of renewable energy investments worldwide.
The deal represents GE's first renewable energy investment in India. It follows Goldman Sach's investment last month of up to $200 million in Indian independent power producer ReNew Wind, which aims to develop about 1,000 megawatts of wind power by 2015.
Global consulting firm KPMG, in its annual survey of global renewable energy mergers and acquisitions, ranked India as the third most favored destination for investments in the sector, behind the United States and China.
Just in the first quarter of 2011, about $586 million of project financing flowed into Indian onshore wind farms, just 37 percent less than the $934 million allocated to the sector throughout 2010, the survey indicates.
Greenko estimates that less than 25 percent of India's estimated wind potential of 45,000 megawatts has been harnessed.
While India has set a renewable energy target of 15 percent by 2020, it relies on coal to generate nearly 70 percent of its electricity.