In his address at the International Climate Summit 2021, Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of oil-to-telecom conglomerate Reliance Industries Limited said that India’s new green revolution has already begun; with the target of 175 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by December 2022 now within sight.
“It is a matter of great pride for all of us that India has now achieved a major milestone of 100 gigawatts installed renewable energy,” said Ambani, highlighting that India presently is among the top three most attractive destinations for renewable energy. Ambani underscored the importance of two sources of energy—solar energy and green hydrogen, which he believes is pivotal to increase energy production for India’s burgeoning economy, while drastically reducing its carbon emission levels.
According to Ambani, India can leverage its topological and tropical location to produce solar energy. “Taking advantage of over 300 sunny days in a year, India can easily generate over 1,000 GW of solar energy on just 0.5% of our land,” he said. Ambani believes solar energy is the ideal source for decentralised energy production, which, in turn, can promote decentralised socio-economic development. “By investing in smart, two-way grids, micro-grids, efficient storage solutions and smart meters, we can enable individuals, communities and neighbourhoods to become both consumers and producers of energy,” he added. Solar energy production, according to Ambani, has little environmental impact and entails zero human displacement problems.
Ambani also believes green hydrogen as the future replacement of fossil fuels. “Hydrogen has high gravimetric energy density and can be reconverted into electricity and heat with zero emissions,” he said. Albeit the current cost of hydrogen from electrolysis is high, Ambani believes they are expected to fall significantly in the coming years. “New technologies are emerging for hydrogen storage and transportation, which will dramatically reduce the cost of distribution,” he added. Furthermore, he said that the Government of India is planning to create an enabling green hydrogen ecosystem in the country. “Efforts are on globally to make green hydrogen the most affordable fuel option by bringing down its cost to initially under $2 per kg. I am sure that India can set an even more aggressive target of achieving under $1 per kg within a decade.”
He also reiterated Reliance Industries’ roadmap and strategy for its new energy business. “We have started developing the Dhirubhai Ambani Green Energy Giga Complex over 5,000 acres in Jamnagar. This complex will have four Giga Factories, which cover the entire spectrum of renewable energy,” he said. The Jamnagar complex will have an integrated solar photovoltaic module factory, an advanced energy storage battery factory, an electrolyser factory for the production of green hydrogen, and a fuel cell factory for converting hydrogen into motive and stationary power. “Over the next three years we will invest ₹75,000 crore in these initiatives,” he added. Ambani expects Reliance to establish and enable at least 100GW of solar energy by 2030.