New Delhi: Indian tycoon Mukesh Ambani may ignite a bidding war with fellow competitor Gautam Adani with his $10 billion entry into the renewable energy market cutting down solar tariffs further. The country’s two richest businessmen have been at the forefront of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambition to increase the green footprint with more than four-fold energy capacity to 450 gigawatts by 2030.
While the two have usually avoided collision, the government’s renewable energy plans may be one such space where Ambani’s flagship Reliance Industries may witness a high-profile face-off with the Adani group.
Ambani announced last month that he will be building 100 GW in solar energy capacity over the next nine years. For this, he said, his group would spend $10 billion for the next three years to build solar manufacturing units, a battery factory for energy storage, a fuel cell factory, and a unit to produce green hydrogen as part of its vision for the company’s rapid transition to a new era of green, clean and renewable energy.
Three days after this announcement, Adani took the stage to announce that his green energy venture would add 5 GW every year this decade, instead of the current level of about 3.5 GW.
Although solar tariffs in India are already among the lowest in the world – below ₹ 2 per kilowatt-hour in auctions conducted in Gujarat – Reliance Industries has a reputation of disrupting rival businesses by presenting cheaper alternatives. The company has already done it with cheap smartphones and data plans with Jio, which dethroned telecom pioneers Vodafone Idea and Bharti Airtel within five years, becoming the largest operator in the country.
Even if both the companies meet their targets, Reliance’s goal of 100GW solar capacity is twice as large as Adani. This could give Ambani a clear edge over the latter, which has already faced criticism for developing a coal mine in Australia.
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