Gautam Adani: The Man Leading India’s Clean Energy Push

India’s Richest Businessman Gautam Adani is Investing Heavily in Renewables
Playing a Pivotal Role in India’s Ambitious Transition to Clean Energy, Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani is Investing US$100 Billion Over the Next Decade

India is transforming – and rapidly.

This was among the key takeaways from the 34th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum held in Davos.

Included in the Indian delegation, India’s richest businessman, and the world’s 12th richest billionaire, Gautam Adani said he and his “fellow countrymen” were leaving Davos with heads held a little higher than usual.

“No better time to be an Indian,” he declared in a post on LinkedIn from the Swiss mountains.

Adani, who is Chairman of the ports-to-power conglomerate Adani Group, said India is on track to achieve its US$30 trillion GDP target by 2050, with the potential for “even higher growth due to its young workforce”.

As one of the world’s fastest-growing large economies, India is pushing ahead on all fronts, from technology and talent to healthcare and renewables.

The country’s “dramatic social transformation” over the past decade received applause at Davos, while its commitment to transitioning away from fossil fuels has put India on a stronger and more sustainable foothold.

Gautam is Chairman of the Ports-to-Power Conglomerate Adani Group

India Making Moves Towards Renewable Energy

During COP28 in Dubai, PM Narendra Modi agreed with 195 other countries to move away from fossil fuels in energy systems “in a just, orderly and equitable manner” while “accelerating action this decade to achieve net zero by 2050”.

This is quite the ambition (and turnaround) for India – given they are the world’s fastest-growing economy and the third-biggest carbon emitter with 73% of electricity consumed produced using coal.

Committed to reducing emissions intensity by 45% from 2005 levels by 2030, and transitioning to 50% electric power from non-fossil-based sources, India is the only large nation ahead of its target on this goal.

Targeting the installation of 500 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2030, India is looking to both solar and hydrogen as solutions.

Playing a pivotal role in this transition, as the country’s largest private sector energy and infrastructure conglomerate, Adani Group is focused on providing clean, and reliable power.

During COP28, PM Modi Agreed to Move Away From Fossil Fuels

Adani Group: From Coal to Green Energy

Founded by first-generation entrepreneur Gautam Adani in 1988 as a commodity trading business, Adani Group expanded into energy, utilities, and infrastructure with a focus on coal and ports – growing the bulk of wealth from fossil fuels and mining.  

Benefiting from the government’s focus on infrastructure development in recent years, Adani Group today owns 13 ports, including India’s largest private port operator and an end-to-end logistics provider, which accounts for 25% of the cargo movement in the country.

Diversification, acquisition, and entry into emerging sectors has been central to the Group’s rapid growth, with expansion more recently into everything from defence manufacturing to data centres, 5G to media, solar power to green hydrogen.

Renewable Big Business in India

But it is in the business of renewables where Gautam Adani is placing his biggest bets, recognising not just the rising demand for renewables, but the supportive government policies in place, and urgency to comply with ESG factors.

Adani has said he will invest an estimated US$100 billion into India’s ambitious green energy transition over the next 10 years, with plans to scale up to 10 GW of solar manufacturing capacity by 2027, from the current 4 GW.

Green energy is also where Adani is seeing his greatest gains, with the Group’s renewables energy arm, Adani Green Energy, now the largest renewable power producer in India – and one of the nation’s most valuable companies, with a market cap of US$31.30 billion.

Reporting an 87% jump in Q2 2023 sales and 80% surge in revenue, Adani Green saw more than two-fold growth in profits, driven by the country’s rapidly growing power demand.

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With India “on the cusp” of becoming a global leader in renewable energy, Adani Green is in the “vanguard of this revolution”, Adani said in a statement.

Recently pumping US$1 billion funding into the company, Adani reaffirmed his commitment to not only “making our nation’s clean energy dream a reality” but also to an equitable energy transition “where we phase down traditional power sources while simultaneously phasing up green, affordable alternatives to fuel our accelerating growth and development plans”.

As the developer, owner and operator of utility-scale grid-connected solar wind and hybrid renewable power plants Adani Green has an operational capacity of 8.4 GW spread across 12 states with a target of 45GW green energy capacity by 2030.

Backing the company’s ambition to become India’s leader of renewable energy, French energy giant TotalEnergies recently completed a second joint venture with Adani Green, having acquired a 20% stake in the company for US$2.5 billion three years ago.

The new joint venture houses a portfolio of 1,050 MW of solar and wind projects in India, including 300 MW already in operation and 500MW under construction.

The two companies are working together to create the world’s largest hydrogen ecosystem – with investment in a 1 million metric tonne per annum green hydrogen facility in Gujarat, slated to start production in 2027.

This is part of Adani Group’s ambitious green hydrogen plans, aligned with Modi’s mission to turn India into a green hydrogen hub and produce five million tonnes of green hydrogen by 2030.

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Building the World’s Largest Renewable Energy Park

Adani’s green investments include the building of three giga factories, which will extend from polysilicon to solar modules, complete manufacturing of wind turbines and the manufacturing of hydrogen electrolysers.

Among Adani’s many green investments, building the world’s largest renewable energy park is perhaps its most ambitious.

When complete in 2027, the US$2.3 billion Khavda Renewable Energy Park in Adani’s home state of Gujarat will cover 280 square miles, nearly the size of NYC, making it “visible even from space”.

The park will generate 30 GW of solar and wind energy, the equivalent of a quarter of India’s current capacity from wind and solar – and enough to power the homes of 18 million people, more than the combined population of London and New York.

“We are creating one of the globe’s most extensive and integrated renewable energy manufacturing ecosystems for solar and wind,” Adani wrote in a post on X in December.

Adani Group’s Path to Net Zero by 2050

The Group’s dedication to the energy transition is reflected too in its own operations – with five Adani Group portfolio businesses including Adani Green Energy targeting net zero by 2050 or earlier.

Ranked the highest-rated utility company in the world, according to Sustainalytics, Adani Green has achieved zero waste to landfill for all operational sites and turned net water positive at all sites of 200 MW or more.

Adani Energy Solutions has increased its renewable share in the overall mix to 38.3%, and Adani Enterprises is building three giga-factories with a target to develop 10 GW solar panels, 10 GW wind turbines and 5 GW hydrogen electroysers as part of it green hydrogen push.

And Adani Ports & SEZ is on track to become net zero by 2040, with the Group also setting a national benchmark as the only carbon-neutral port operator by 2025. This includes electrifying all cranes, switching all diesel-based internal transfer vehicle to battery0based ITVs, and installing a further 1,000 MW of captive renewable capacity.

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