When Prime Minister Narendra Modi presented his five-point agenda—which he called Panchamrit—at the COP26 summit in Glasgow in early November, it was a turning point in India’s climate change agenda. As part of the commitments, Modi announced that India would take its non-fossil energy capacity to 500 GW by 2030, and by that year India would also meet 50 per cent of its energy requirements from renewable energy. India’s commitment to increasing its non-fossil energy capacity ties in perfectly with the ambitions of the country’s two richest men—Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani and Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani—both of whom are now putting in place mega plans in the renewables space. Together, their investments will eventually total $30 billion, or over Rs 2.2 lakh crore, indicating the kind of big money the two groups are ready to put into clean energy. And both want a chunk of the renewables pie in various forms: solar, wind, hybrid and hydrogen, though their strategies are quite different from each other. Krishna Gopalan’s cover story takes a close look at the different strategies of the two groups, and how their clean energy ambitions are playing out.
Ambani wants to “establish and enable” at least 100 GW of solar energy by 2030 which, given India’s target of 500 GW and current and ongoing capacity building, means Reliance wants 100 GW of the 350 GW which remains to be built to reach India’s 2030 renewables target. The plan is to make solar photovoltaic modules, advanced energy storage batteries, electrolysers and fuel cells and “create and offer a fully integrated, end-to-end renewable energy ecosystem”. Ambani plans to invest $10 billion, or Rs 75,000 crore, over three years. While Ambani’s plan is more about manufacturing, Adani, whose group is already a major player in the power sector, plans to pump in $20 billion on clean energy over the next decade. The investments will go into renewable energy generation, component manufacturing, transmission and distribution. Adani’s target is to become the world’s largest renewable power generator by 2030.
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