Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has made a substantial commitment of spending Rs. 75,000 crores on clean energy. Mukesh Ambani, the Chairman of RIL said at the company’s AGM that the company will spend Rs. 60,000 crore on four so-called ‘Giga factories’ to produce solar cells, modules, hydrogen, fuel cells and a battery grid to store electricity on 5,000 acres of land at Jamnagar, Gujarat, home to the world’s biggest refining complex. He added that the remaining Rs. 15,000 crore in developing a value chain, partnerships, and futuristic technologies.
Oil companies are under pressure from shareholders and governments to slash their carbon footprint and transition to an environmentally sustainable model. Plunging renewable energy tariffs and aggressive government and corporate targets to decarbonize are prompting investors to turn up the pressure on these companies to prepare for a post-fossil fuel world. Addressing these concerns, RIL has pledged to go net carbon zero by 2035.
RIL’s Investment Model for Renewable Energy
As part of the company’s latest investment plan, Reliance Industries will build an integrated solar photovoltaic module factory to establish and enable at least 100GW solar energy by 2030.
A significant part of this will come from rooftop solar and decentralized solar installations in villages. This would be supplemented by an advanced energy storage Giga factory, an electrolyser Giga factory to manufacture modular electrolysers used for captive production of green hydrogen for domestic use, as well as for global sale.
Reliance Industries will also set up two additional divisions—Renewable Energy Project Management and Construction Division and Renewable Energy Project Finance Division—to facilitate the setting up of large renewable plants worldwide and provide finance to developers.
Fuel Cell Giga Factory
Reliance Industries’ other initiative will be the fuel cell Giga factory. A fuel cell uses oxygen from the air and hydrogen to generate electricity. The only emission of this process is non-polluting water vapour.
Fuel cells have the potential to progressively replace internal combustion engines. Reliance Industries’ Jamnagar complex will provide infrastructure and utilities to make ancillary material and equipment needed to support these factories.
Future of Renewables in India
RIL is known for executing mega projects such as the roll-out of Reliance Jio, or establishing the world’s largest oil refinery; in an efficient manner and in record time. The company’s venture and commitment to the clean energy sector if executed with the same energy and enthusiasm will prove to be very beneficial for India in meeting its sustainability goals.