Billionaire Mukesh Ambani announced on Thursday Rs 75,000 crore investment in setting up four 'Giga' factories to make solar photovoltaic cells, green hydrogen, batteries, and fuel cells over the next three years.
Addressing the company's annual shareholders meeting, he said that Reliance will create 100 GW of solar energy for power generating capacity, primarily through rooftop installations and centralized operations in villages.
Reliance will build solar manufacturing units, an energy storage battery plant, a fuel cell-making, and an electrolyser unit to produce green hydrogen as part of the business.
"We plan to build four Giga Factories to manufacture and integrate all the critical components of the ecosystem's new solar PV module factory, energy storage battery factory, electrolyser factory, and fuel cell factory," Ambani said.
These four plants will involve an investment of Rs 60,000 crore.
"We will invest an additional Rs 15,000 crore in future value chains, partnerships, and technologies, including upstream and downstream industries. Therefore, our total investment in the new energy business will be Rs 75,000 crore in 3 years," he said.
Last year, he announced a 15-year commitment to become net carbon zero by 2035.
"The era of fossil fuels, which has fueled global economic growth for nearly three centuries, cannot last much longer," he said.
"In 2016, we launched Jio with the aim of closing the digital divide in India. Now, in 2021, we are launching our new energy business with the aim of closing the green energy gap in India and the world."
Ambani said Reliance will build solar manufacturing units, an energy storage battery plant, a fuel cell plant, and an electrolyzer unit to produce green hydrogen as part of the works.
As part of the new business, called the Dhirubhai Ambani Green Energy Giga Complex, Reliance will also build a solar capacity of at least 100 GW by 2030, the richest man in Asia told shareholders at the meeting which was held virtually due to Covid-19.
That would account for over a fifth of India's renewable energy goal of installing 450 GW by 2030. India wants green energy sources to account for 40% of the electricity generated by the end of this decade.
"A significant part of this will come from rooftop solar systems and decentralized solar power installations in villages," Ambani said.
Reliance's pivot toward a cleaner, greener version of its old businesses underscores the new global order in the energy sector. Global giants like ExxonMobil are under pressure to reduce their carbon footprint as local business leaders, including India's second-richest man Gautam Adani, are stepping up their green initiatives and fueling a rally in stocks. The Green Agenda also has broader political support in India and is one of the top priorities of the government led by Narendra Modi.
"We will transform our legacy businesses into sustainable, circular, and carbon-neutral businesses," Ambani said in his speech. "And we will do so by redirecting our existing assets to extend their economic life and their ability to generate income."
Last year, Reliance set itself a goal of becoming a carbon-neutral company by 2035, a shorter period of time compared to the self-imposed 2050 period of many of its global peers, including BP Plc. and Royal Dutch Shell Plc. The Ambani Group bought its first shipment of carbon-neutral crude oil in February and said it expected more such partnerships.
India's government plans to expand its renewable energy capacity nearly five times to 450 gigawatts by 2030 as the nation aims to reduce its dependence on coal.
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