Shell made a big move into India’s green power sector with a $1.55bn deal for Sprng Energy, one of the country’s fastest-growing wind and solar developer and operators.

Sprng’s acquisition from investment group Actis by the UK-based oil supermajor positions Shell “as one of the first movers in building a truly integrated energy transition business in India,” said Wael Sawan, Shell’s integrated gas, renewables and energy solutions director.

Adding Sprng’s 2.9GW of operating and contracted assets will triple Shell’s operational renewables base, while the developer – which was only formed by Actis in 2017 – has another 7.5GW in its pipeline.

Shell has repeatedly been tipped in the Indian media as a suitor for Sprng, and is said to have seen off finance giant Macquarie and Canadian pension fund CPPIB in bidding for the developer.

Sawan added: “I believe [the acquisition] will enable Shell to become a leader across the power value chain in a rapidly growing market where electrification on a massive scale and strong demand for renewables are driving the energy transition.

“Sprng Energy generates cash, has an excellent team, strong and proven development track record and a healthy growth pipeline. Sprng Energy’s strengths can combine with Shell India’s thriving customer-facing gas and downstream businesses to create even more opportunities for growth.”

India – which is pursuing some of the world’s most ambitious green growth targets – badly needs major foreign investors to help its push towards 500GW of installed renewables by 2030, from about 160GW now.

Shell’s fellow European supermajor TotalEnergies has an alliance with Adani, while from the power sector the likes of Enel are active in the nation’s wind and solar sector.

Shell is gradually expanding its global interests in renewables and other clean energy assets as part of a corporate energy transition strategy that currently earmarks $2-3bn annually for low-carbon investments.

The supermajor in December made a major swoop for Savion, a US-based solar and storage developer, and is also active in offshore wind – both fixed-bottom and floating – and the emerging green hydrogen sector.

The deal is subject to regulatory clearance and is expected to close later this year.

Shell was this month ranked number one in a list of oil & gas players best prepared for the energy transition published by research group BloombergNEF.