For long, Gautam Adani has been synonymous with ports, coal, power and infrastructure.
Along with a value of $30 billion, his companies have, however, amassed serious brickbats over their poor environmental track record, particularly the flagship company Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ), in Gujarat, and Adani Australia, over the controversial Carmichael coal mine in Australia.
But this could well change, with the 58-year-old billionaire emerging as an unlikely champion of clean energy. Over the past few years, he has been laying the groundwork to diversify his empire, and renewable energy seems to be at the heart of this transformation.
In June, Adani Group’s renewable energy arm, the Adani Green Energy Limited (AGEL), won a contract from the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) to develop 8 GW of solar projects, along with a commitment to build 2 GW of additional solar cell and module manufacturing capacity over the next five years. The entire project is expected to cost ₹45,000 crore, and will create about 4 lakh direct and indirect jobs.
With this, AGEL will have about 15 GW of capacity of renewable energy under operation. “By 2025, the capacity of AGEL will be 25 GW, while Adani Power’s thermal capacity will be less than 20 GW,” says Adani, chairman of Adani Group. Today, Adani Power’s thermal capacity stands at 14 GW.