The renewable energy sector in India has witnessed rapid advancement over the past year, with a newly developed focus on green hydrogen, digitisation and solar manufacturing. Adani Green Energy Limited (AGEL), the world’s largest solar power developer, is targeting 45 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030, and will invest $20 billion to develop a 2 GW per year solar manufacturing capacity by 2022-23. Renewable Watch presents the views of Gautam Adani, founder and chairman of the Adani Group, on the progress, avenues for investment and the future outlook for the renewable energy industry in India, taken from his recent addresses at various industry events…
The Covid-19 pandemic demonstrated the world’s inability to react effectively to a multidimensional global crisis that demands coordinated policy responses. It has affected the health sector, education and supply chains, among others. Pandemics can be countered with vaccines, but there exists no vaccine for climate change. A bigger concern is the impact that climate change is likely to have on the poorest sections of society. We can ensure, through science, policy and technological development that the principle of equitability is not ignored. The most viable solutions will be digital and technology-driven, supported by policies that accelerate adoption.
As technologies evolve rapidly, next-generation efficiency solar panels, low carbon materials that make offshore wind turbines affordable, mainstreaming of carbon capture technologies, various “fit for purpose” battery technologies, algorithm driven grids, e-mobility and hydrogen-driven technologies will play a significant role. Of all these technologies, solar is the fastest growing source of power. Over the last decade, the cost of solar panels has decreased by 90 per cent. Over the next decade, price drops may continue to be of the same magnitude, as panels become more efficient and new materials come into play. The marginal cost of solar power is moving towards zero, and this is both transformative and disruptive. The combination or intersection of technologies creates disruptive business models. One such disruptive model, likely to be a game changing model for sustainability, is the combination of solar energy and hydrogen production. Hydrogen can induce smarter use of other renewables by becoming the long-term transport and distributor storage solution for electricity. It is the key link in the energy transition journey, that, along with wind and solar, will stabilise decentralised power generation.
For India, decentralised power generation can be a massive game changer, especially for the rural population. Decentralised power allows us to improve grid resiliency and enables micro-sizing of energy for micro agriculture, micro healthcare, micro education, etc.
While there are many challenges to be addressed, I am confident that we are on the cusp of a hydrogen-driven revolution that can transform India into a green India. This revolution of alternate energy technologies may lead India to become a net exporter of green energy in the future. Hydrogen can also allow India to reduce its dependence on the import of crude oil, coal and natural gas. Technology-driven energy transition will disrupt existing industries and at the same time create new ones. Artificial intelligence (AI) is also an inevitable universal accelerator. Power and inexpensive computing, and the ability to collect massive amounts of data, is fast making AI a general purpose technology that will make a tremendous difference to sustainability.
The Adani Group is tripling its solar power generation capacity over the next four years. Our renewable portfolio has reached the initial target of 25 GW a full four years ahead of schedule.