ZR Power Holdings unveils $1 billion clean energy, data centres' expansion plan in the Middle East, India

Zain Ravdjee, the company’s Chairman & CEO, has been working on twin projects of encouraging green energy through windmills and Guardian Data Centres to cater to Amazon, Google, Microsoft, leading OTT platforms, and BFSFI sectors


Joydeep Sengupta

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Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

Published: Tue 18 Oct 2022, 8:03 PM

Last updated: Tue 18 Oct 2022, 8:04 PM

Zain Ravdjee, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), ZR Renewable Energy Pvt Ltd; a subsidiary of ZR Power Holdings, which is an integral part of the over four-decade ZR Group, was an impressionable youth in his early 20s, who made his initial business foray into Dubai in 2009 after he acquired an MBA degree from Regent's Business School in London.

He did due diligence for a couple of years in the UAE and went back to the drawing board in his native Hyderabad, India, to decide on the next course of action.

Data as the new oil was gaining momentum as a global business narrative and a young Ravdjee found a golden opportunity to give wings to his business acumen.

“In retrospect, it was a breakout moment for me as cloud computing was a successor to massive data consumption around the world coupled with a renewed global focus on sustainability and climate change. The world was moving to a new direction, and I was ready to embrace the new challenges that came my way,” said an affable Ravdjee, an alumnus of Hyderabad Public School, whose alumni includes CEOs of Microsoft, Adobe and Mastercard, Satya Nadella, Shantanu Narayen and Ajay Banga, respectively.

Zain Ravdjee
Zain Ravdjee

Ravdjee has been working on twin projects of encouraging renewables through windmills and Guardian Data Centres — a subsidiary of ZR Group, which is an ambitious project to cater to global service providers such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft and leading over-the-top (OTT) platforms, besides market leaders in the banking, financial services and insurance (BFSFI) sectors.

“The wind or clean-energy power projects complement the data centres. In 2016, the first project went live at Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh and is currently generating 24 megawatt (MW) linked to the national grid. Our data centre is backed by carbon-neutral energy because it consumes a lot of power. In August, we acquired land to build a 60-MW information technology (IT) load in Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra. Similarly, land was acquired in Hyderabad and Dubai, respectively, to construct 20-MW each IT load that is likely to go operational in another two years,” he said.

Cumulatively, Guardian Data Centres is looking at generating another 100 MW in India and plans are afoot to acquire land in Chennai and Noida by the middle of next year.

“Similarly, we’re looking at expanding in the other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Bahrain. At present, we’re considering generating 120 MW in these GCC nations. The capital outlay for all these projects in India and the GCC is estimated to be around $1 (Dh3.67) billion. And renewable power will be sourced to support the energy needs of all these data centres in line with ZR Group’s commitment to green energy to ensure sustainability across the board,” added Ravdjee.

The Indian entrepreneur’s sustainability initiative is aligned with the UAE’s visionary leadership’s campaign against over-dependence on fossil fuel, which is being championed by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

His business initiatives in the last few years underscore that Mumbai — his base in native India — and Dubai is indeed a hop, skip and jump, as he shuttles between these two cities across the Arabian Gulf with unflinching alacrity and consummate ease.

No wonder, the Dubai Government — known to be a unique talent spotter — recognised the business acumen of the entrepreneur and offered him a Golden Visa last year amid the Covid-19-induced flight restrictions. He was among the first 10 Indian businessmen to receive the prestigious Golden Visa — largely on the basis of his path-breaking business ideas that are in sync with the emirate’s ambitious plans in cutting-edge innovation and sustainability.

IPO plans in the works

ZR Power Holdings has chalked out a foolproof financial plan to fund its ambitious projects in the GCC and India.

Plans are in the works to float an initial public offering (IPO) on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) in India next year and later may opt for a similar flotation on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) for its renewable initiatives.

Similarly, the Guardian Data Centres, promoted by Ravdjee, will be backed by large private equity (PE) , sovereign wealth funds and strategic partners amid its mega plans to expand in the Middle East and India.


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