Power struggle - GulfToday

Power struggle

India Solar

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The news that India’s two of the richest men in Indian are vying to be at the forefront of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambition to ramp up green energy capacity is uplifting (“Fossil fuel giants in fierce battle for solar domination,” July 9, Gulf Today).

It’s rare when such things happen because business interests play a pivotal role for tycoons. Rarely the environment or the welfare of the masses take precedence over profits for business magnates. So it is rare, in more ways than one, to see India’s top billionaires sparring over solar energy.

Ambani announced last month he will build 100 GW in solar energy capacity over the next nine years. He said his group would spend $10 billion over the next three years in building solar manufacturing units, a battery factory for energy storage, a fuel cell factory, and a unit to produce green hydrogen. Three days later, Adani announced that his green energy venture would add 5 GW every year this decade, from a current level of about 3.5 GW.

Great going for India, because in India where solar tariffs which are already among the lowest in the world, could drop even further should all these plans fructify.

India is striving hard to cut down on fossil fuels and its decarbonisation policy which is in line with global trends which, since 2011, have been seeing investments in renewable energy infrastructure running at two-three times of that for new fossil fuel capacities.

But reports say India needs to catalyse over $200 billion of new investment in its renewable energy infrastructure in the next decade. The country now relies on thermal power generation for 80 per cent of its electricity, while hydro supplies a significant 10 per cent and renewables just seven per cent. Coal-based power generation could drop dramatically as the major players go green. So a Ambani-Andani is good news.

Ramesh Nirudhan
By email

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