Shell Foundation may invest $75 million in clean energy in India over next 5 years

MUMBAI: Shell Foundation, an independent charity set up by Anglo-Dutch energy group Shell, plans to allocate about half of its $150 million deployable funds in India's clean energy sector over the next five years, a top official said. The foundation may not invest the funds directly into projects but in for-profit companies or financial institutes, which will in turn invest in solutions to make cheap energy options accessible in rural and urban poor areas.

"We want to take a market based approach where we can fund or forward grants to companies who are directly or indirectly providing the bottom of the pyramid with access to energy," said 
Pradeep Pursnani, deputy director-chief operating officer at Shell Foundation.

The charity is also looking to pump money into organisations that are into providing finance for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) or give loans or subsidies that can be used as working capital by energy startups.

Over the next five years, the foundation plans to invest $20-30 million annually in the global energy sector. Its focus, though, will essentially be India and Africa."An average firm in the alternate energy takes six to 10 years and $5 million to $20 million before they start making profits. We have patience to fund these companies till the time they succeed as we have a bigger risk appetite," added Pursnani.

The foundation is also looking at establishing public-private partnerships with the Indian government in the clean energy sector directly or through the companies that it has invested in.

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