Billionaire Gautam Adani on Thursday said his logistics-to-energy conglomerate will invest $ 70 billion over the next decade to become the world's largest renewable energy company and produce the cheapest hydrogen on the Earth.
Adani Green Energy Ltd (AGEL), the world's largest solar power developer, is targeting 45 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2030 and will invest $ 20 billion to develop a 2 GW per year solar manufacturing capacity by 2022-23.
Adani Transmission Ltd (ATL), India's largest private sector power transmission and retail distribution company, is looking to increase the share of renewable power procurement from the current 3 % to 30 % by FY 2023 and to 70 % by FY 2030.
Speaking at the Bloomberg India Economic Forum, Adani Group's founder-chairman said the group is working to make renewable a viable, affordable alternative to fossil fuels.
"By 2030, we expect to be the world's largest renewable energy company without any caveat - and we have committed $ 70 billion over the next decade to make this happen. There is no other company that has yet made so large a bet on developing its sustainability infrastructure," he said.
Adani Group already is the world's largest solar power developer.
"We, therefore, believe the combination of our renewable capacity and the size of our investment makes us the leader among all global companies in the effort to produce cheap green electricity and green hydrogen," he said without giving details of the plans to produce hydrogen.
"From an Adani perspective, we are very strongly positioned to produce the world’s least expensive hydrogen, which is expected to be an energy source plus feedstock for various industries that we intend to play in," he said.
Stating that green hydrogen, produced from renewable energy, is a miracle fuel and a miracle feedstock, he said India's exponential growth in renewables, producing green hydrogen cheaply could transform the nation into a net exporter of green energy.
"Imagine that - an India no longer having to rely on imported fossil fuels, an India no longer exposed to the price fluctuations of international markets, an India that achieves fuel independence," he said.
At COP 26 in Glasgow, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced 2070 as India's target year to reach net-zero carbon emissions.
India also announced a slew of other, more ambitious, climate targets for 2030: increasing the share of renewables in the country's energy mix to 50 %; expanding installed capacity of non-fossil energy from 450 to 500 GW; and reducing the carbon intensity of the economy by 45 %, as opposed to the previous goal of 33-35 %.
"Ahead of COP 26, the Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, I pointed out that businesses that act on the urgent need to limit incremental global warming will secure the largest opportunities over the next several decades. Balancing growth while limiting emissions is an incredible global opportunity for businesses that are prepared to adapt," Mr. Adani said.
In this race to avert ecological disaster, the world could use Indian leadership. India's track record in living up to its sustainability commitments is better than that of any other major nation, he said.
At COP 21 in Paris, India promised that, by 2030, it would curtail the emissions intensity of its GDP by 33-35 % and increase its share of non-fossil power capacity to 40 %. "We have beaten both targets, the latter nine years ahead of schedule," he said.
Mr. Adani said the new targets will not be easy.
"Every political and business leader will be confronted with decisions requiring them to disrupt existing regulations as well as disrupt existing business models. Combine this with the disruptions in the digital space that has engulfed every field, and we have a near-perfect storm.
"This storm will cause the collapse of many massive multinational businesses, only for them to be replaced by new multi-trillion-dollar companies arising from the intersection of sustainability and digital technologies," he said.
In other words, the future of infrastructure to enable a greener world will require both sustainability and digital innovation to be at the core of both design and execution, Mr. Adani added. Mr. Adani said over the past years, his group has focused on turning all the businesses, be it electricity, ports and logistics, airport and transport, and data-centers green.
Stating that in 2025 it is estimated an individual in the developed world will have one interaction with a data center every 20 seconds, he said as 5G connectivity expands enterprise networks and moves data processing to the edge, there is a need to reimagine data center designs.
"The Adani Group is well-positioned to benefit from this trend given our ability to build data centers, connect data centers, and provide 100 % green power to data centers - a provision that will be hard to replicate at an economic scale elsewhere in the world," he said.
To that end, Adani Group is also making major investments in digital infrastructure. Data centers, cloud computing and artificial intelligence vastly improve access to information, real-time data, and energy efficiency.