By Sunil Garodia
First publised on 2021-06-24 14:22:57
Reliance Industries (RIL) Chairman Mukesh Ambani came out all guns blazing in support of clean energy at the company's AGM today. Like other petrochemicals majors across the world, RIL will also make massive investments in sustainable energy businesses going into the future. Ambani announced the company will invest Rs 60000 crore in the core business and another Rs 15000 to support the same through investment in value chains, upstream and downstream industries and development of future technologies, in the next three years.
Ambani said that "we have a 15-year vision to build Reliance as one of the world's leading new energy and new materials company". It proved that despite having a highly successful fossil fuels business, Ambani does not want to miss out on the change to renewable energy when it happens. It also means that the company is ready to take a leap of faith in this regard despite knowing full well that the profitability of some of the renewable energy sectors is in doubt. But as Ambani had said at the recent Qatar Economic Forum, "sustainability is a prerequisite for every business to survive, and this means transforming businesses and integrating them with the future" he is guiding RIL on the path of transforming its energy business.
Ambani disclosed that RIL will develop the Dhirubhai Ambani Green Energy Giga Complex on 5,000 acres in Jamnagar. It will "create and offer a fully integrated, end-to-end renewables energy ecosystem." It will be amongst the largest such integrated renewable energy manufacturing facilities in the world, according to Ambani. He added that "Jamnagar was the cradle of our old energy business. Jamnagar will also be the cradle of our new energy business."
In the first phase, RIL will be to build 4 giga factories to manufacture and fully integrate all the critical components of the new energy ecosystem. The first one will produce solar photovoltaic modules for production of solar energy. The second will produce advanced energy storage batteries for the storage of intermittent energy. The third will be an electrolyser factory to produce green hydrogen as distinct from hydrogen that is produced using fossil fuels. The fourth will be a fuel cell factory for converting hydrogen into motive and stationary power.
These ambitious plans of RIL to transform its energy business with a push towards green and clean energy are wise decisions. As the world moves towards adopting alternatives to fossil fuels and billions of dollars are being spent on research to develop products that will work on clean energy, the current doubt about profitability will be laid to rest once the change happens. RIL, as India's largest company, has a responsibility to develop sustainable energy businesses to make a positive contribution to the environment. The decisions announced at the AGM show that the company will fulfill that responsibility.