A Coal Billionaire Is Building the World’s Largest Renewable Energy Farm

  • India’s Adani Group is the driving force behind the Gujarat Hybrid Renewable Energy Farm.

  • The group is developing the project in a salty desert in northwestern India near the border with Pakistan.

Gujarat Hybrid Renewable Energy Farm, India
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It's quite a feat to be able to say that you're building something that will one day be seen from space. However, that's exactly the case of the hybrid renewable energy park in Gujarat, India.

From coal mines to renewable energy. Gautam Adani may no longer be India’s richest man, but he is still the country’s biggest coal importer. An old friend of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Adani believes in Modi’s commitment to renewable energy—and he wants to get on board. This has resulted in Adani Green Energy, a subsidiary of the Adani Group headed by Gautam Adani's nephew, building the world’s largest wind-solar farm in Gujarat.

Big enough to be seen from space. In late 2020, Adani Green Energy started building the Khavda Renewable Energy Park on roughly 150,000 acres (600 square kilometers) of barren land near the Pakistani border. It’s a sun-drenched, salty desert with little wildlife to disturb.

The scale of the project is hard to comprehend. When completed, millions of solar panels and wind turbines spread over an area similar in size to a city will generate enough electricity to power 16 million homes.

30 GW of wind and solar capacity. With combined public and private investment of more than $19 billion, the Gujarat Hybrid Farm claims it will use this wasteland to add 30 GW of power to India's electric grid.

The project also includes the creation of a 16GWh battery storage system. According to its developers, the park will employ 100,000 people and reduce the country’s carbon emissions by five million tons annually.

The prevalence of coal in India. India is one of the world’s fastest-growing economies. As such, its energy needs are skyrocketing. The problem is that it relies on coal for 70% of its electricity.

It may be ironic that the Adani Group, the country’s largest coal importer, is leading the construction of what will be India’s and the world’s largest renewable energy park. But it’s a logical transition in a country committed to generating 50% of its energy from renewable sources by 2030.

By 2070, India plans to have 100% of its electricity grid powered by renewable sources. At that point in time, the country expects to have 1.7 billion people, more than China.

Image | Khavda Renewable Energy Park

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