India's leading private sector conglomerate, the Tata Group, is to invest close on INR 3.25 billion ($72.2 million) in a 60 MW wind plant at Vankusavade in Maharashtra in western India. The investment is to be through its finance and investment arms, Tata Finance and Niskalp Investment. So far INR 1.5 billion ($33.3 million) has already been invested in the scheme, of which bank finance was INR 1 billion, with the company providing the remainder. "We feel that investment in renewable energy projects is a good proposition because of the tax shelter and good returns. The power generated will be sold to Tata group companies like Telco and other parties like Mahindra and Mahindra," says Tata Finance director Dilip S. Pendse. "Considering the proposed change in depreciation benefits for leases -- where the depreciation benefits will only be allowed to the lessees rather than the lessor -- we feel that the investments planned by us in wind power generation facilities will take care of our tax planning needs over the next two to three years," adds Tata Finance's executive vice president Milind S. Desai. Two sites have been identified from a resource study conducted by the Maharashtra Energy Development Agency and UK-based consultants Garrad Hassan will carry out micro-siting of the wind turbines, adds Desai. Wind turbines are to be supplied by Suzlon-India, which previously had links with Germany's Südwind, part of the Borsig Energy group.
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