Image Source: Bloomberg
Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India, said two years ago that he had big plans to make India a world leader in green energy.
He said that by 2070, he would cut his emissions to net zero or become carbon neutral, which means that he would not add to the amount of greenhouse gases in the air. India is the third country in the world with the most greenhouse gases. Even though its energy needs and pollution levels are lower than those of Western countries, this is still true. Mr. Modi also said that by 2030, half of India’s energy would come from renewable sources and that by the same year, a billion tonnes of carbon emissions would be cut.
Gautam Adani, one of the richest men in Asia, is important to Mr. Modi’s plans for green energy. He runs a huge port-to-energy conglomerate with seven publicly traded companies, one of which is the renewable energy company Adani Green Energy. Mr. Adani wants to put $70 billion (£58 billion) into green energy and become a world leader in renewable energy by 2030. This money is expected to go toward hybrid renewable power generation, solar panels and batteries, green hydrogen, and wind energy.
But Mr. Adani’s recent problems have made people wonder if this is a setback for India’s energy goals, which are getting bigger and bigger. The market value of his group’s publicly traded companies dropped by about $120 billion after an investment firm in the US, Hindenburg Research, said in a report that the group had “brazenly” manipulated stock prices and used accounting tricks for years. The group has said the accusations are false and made with bad intentions. They have said that these plans are an “attack on India.”
TotalEnergies, a French oil and gas company, put a $4 billion investment in a green hydrogen project with the Adani Group on hold until there was more “clarity” on the situation. This was the first sign that investors were getting worried. Total and the group have already invested more than $3 billion in energy projects. But the group has told investors that its companies don’t face any big risks regarding refinancing or short-term cash flow problems.
Too early to tell
Experts think it is too early to say how recent events will affect India’s plans for the climate. Vibhuti Garg from the Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis said that the Adani group is a big player in green energy. Some of the new investments may have to be put off. If they can’t get more money, some of the investments they had planned to make in green energy will have to be changed. But there will be more progress in renewable energy.
Over the next few decades, India will change its energy sources more than any other country. With 1.4 billion people living there, the country still needs to connect many people and the last few people who don’t have power to the grid. Every year, the number of Indians living in cities grows by the size of London. So there is more business going on. Having more bad weather, like heat waves, is very bad. If more people buy electric cars, the need for power will go up even more.
The government agency in charge of electricity thinks it’s expected that demand will double in the next five years. India makes and uses more coal than any other country in the world. Three-quarters of the electricity in India comes from coal, and the country is still building thermal plants. Still, according to the plan, most of the extra power will come from sources that don’t use fossil fuels. The International Energy Agency says that for India to reach net zero emissions by 2070, it must spend $160 billion annually until 2030. (IEA). That’s three times as much as is being put in right now.
Along with the Adani Group, the Ambanis are a major green energy player. Mukesh Ambani, who runs India’s biggest company, Reliance Group, wants to spend $80 billion on renewable energy projects in Gujarat, in the west of the country. Another big energy company that is getting better at clean energy is Tata Group. But experts say India needs a lot more people to help meet its never-ending energy needs.
What experts have said about Adani group
Tim Buckley of Australia’s Climate Energy Finance says that this is why the problems of the Adani Group could be a chance for other players in the field of renewable energy. He says he sees many opportunities for other national players to “step up” and use their skills and abilities at home. He also sees a growing interest in investing in India’s renewable energy and grid infrastructure and more access to global capital.
India can make 400 GW of energy, including clean and dirty energy. India wants to add 500 GW of clean power by 2030. It is an ambitious goal. But a country that gets most of its energy from coal and oil will need help to make such a big change.
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Mr. Swain thinks India should stop adding more coal capacity and instead look for cleaner ways to meet some of its new energy needs. India, for instance, uses 20% of its electricity to water its huge farms. Instead, the farms could be powered during the day by solar energy, which would make everyone happy. Ms. Garg said that India’s progress in using renewable energy has been very impressive. Even though there may be some setbacks and delays, the growth of renewable energy should keep going.