(Bloomberg) – The conglomerate led by Mukesh Ambani, the richest man in Asia, announced plans to invest $ 76 billion in clean energy projects, overshadowing a previous $ 10 billion pledge from the world’s largest fossil fuel billionaire.
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Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries Ltd. has signed deals with the Gujarat state government for a total investment of 5.96 trillion rupees ($81 billion), according to a filing on Thursday. Of this, around Rs 5 trillion will be used over the next 15 years to build 100 gigawatts of renewable energy projects and a green hydrogen grid, while Rs 600 billion will go to factories building solar modules, electrolysers of hydrogen, fuel cells and storage batteries, he said at the presentation.
The remaining sum will be spent on the group’s new and existing projects, including upgrading its telecommunications network for 5G services and expanding its consumer retail businesses. Reliance has already “begun the land exploration process” for its renewable energy projects and has applied to the Gujarat Administration for 182,110 hectares in the arid Kutch region.
Although the investment pact is just a memorandum of understanding at this point, it outlines the scope of Ambani’s green ambitions and represents a sharp increase from the $10 billion investment over three years that he had announced in June. Ambani is in the midst of transforming his fossil fuel-powered empire toward green energy and digital technology.
These projects will also further Reliance’s goal of making its operations carbon neutral by 2035, an ambitious goal for a company that derived 60% of its revenue from oil refining and petrochemicals.
The announcement follows a pact by the conglomerate led by billionaire Gautam Adani with South Korean steel giant Posco to explore business opportunities in India, including setting up an eco-friendly steel plant in Gujarat, with a potential investment of $5 billion. Adani has committed to investing a total of US$70 billion by 2030 across its green energy value chain.
Both the billionaires and their ability to lead by example on their commitments to green energy are crucial if the Narendra Modi-led government is to achieve its goal of net-zero carbon emissions in the country by 2070.
Like their global peers, the Reliance and Adani groups, which made their fortunes from fossil fuels, are now aggressively expanding their clean energy operations amid mounting pressure to join the fight against climate change.
Asia’s Richest Man Plans to Invest $76 Billion in Green Projects
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