By Adveith Nair
LONDON (Reuters) - London-listed clean energy producer Greenko said a $50 million investment by a unit of GE will put it on track to achieve 1 gigawatt (GW) of operational wind capacity by 2017.
A division of GE Energy Financial Services will invest the cash to support development of 500 megawatt (MW) of Greenko's wind energy projects, the company said on Monday.
The India-based renewable energy firm, founded in 2006, has a total of 1 GW of wind assets under development.
"With this investment, up to 500 megawatts is funded. That 500 MW rollout will be enough to fund the rest of the 1 GW (target) thereafter," Greenko's President Mahesh Kolli said in an interview with Reuters. "We will raise further capital as required, but are well funded for the next phase of growth."
Kolli expects Greenko to reach 1 GW of operational capacity in wind by about 2016-2017.
Greenko sees good growth potential in the Indian wind market. With an annual average growth rate of 30 percent, the company says wind is the fastest growing clean energy source in India.
"The whole Indian wind market is about 45 GW, with only about 14 GW installed," Kolli said. "Wind energy is now more a mainstream energy play. These assets have come up to grid parity level in India."
It plans to complete its first wind project, a 65 MW wind farm in Maharashtra state, in December.
India -- the world's third-biggest greenhouse gas polluter after the United States and China -- aims to add 17 GW of renewable energy over five years starting 2012, and a total of 100 GW of power generation capacity by early 2017.
Once operational, a 500-megawatt wind portfolio could generate enough renewable electricity to power 875,000 average Indian households and displace 700,000 tonnes per year of greenhouse gas emissions.
Shares in the company were up 2.3 percent at 154.5 pence on Monday, valuing the business at about 220 million pounds ($343.6 million)
($1 = 0.640 British Pounds)
(Reporting by Adveith Nair, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)