Billionaire Gautam Adani, racing to future-proof his coal-linked fortune, is building the world’s largest renewable energy park deep in the desert along the border with Pakistan. He asserts that this monumental solar and wind project, once fully operational, will constitute a quarter of the country’s current wind and solar capacity. Despite India ranking as the world’s third-largest carbon emitter, Prime Minister Modi’s government, led by Adani’s ambitious initiatives, grapples with the challenge of meeting the nation’s growing energy demands.
Adani’s Resilient Comeback After Hindenburg Case
In 2022, Gautam Adani briefly claimed the title of the world’s second-richest man, amassing a fortune of $154 billion through his expansive ports-to-airports, media, and energy empire, a success often criticized for alleged ties to Narendra Modi. A year ago, accusations of a “brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme” by US short-seller Hindenburg Research caused a significant market value drop of over $150 billion for Adani’s firms. Despite this setback, the 61-year-old, who left high school early, has seen a remarkable recovery in his company’s fortunes and is now channelling substantial investments into capitalizing on the lucrative opportunities presented by the ongoing energy transition.
Wind Project Reshaping India’s Energy Landscape
In the race to address India’s escalating power demands, Adani is constructing a “monumental” solar and wind project, boldly claiming it will be “visible even from space.” As the wind whips up sand in the scorching Rann of Kutch desert, thousands of labourers actively erect vast rows of solar panels, dig foundations for wind turbines, and lay seemingly endless rolls of wires. Despite India ranking as the world’s third-largest carbon emitter, Modi’s government, at the forefront of global coal discussions, contends with the imperative need for more power in the nation’s fastest-growing major economy.
Adani’s Khavda Renewable Energy Park
Sagar Adani, the executive director of Adani Green Energy and Gautam’s nephew, informed AFP that the project’s teams are working “at an accelerated pace.” The $2.3-billion Khavda Renewable Energy Park, when completed in 2027, will cover 726 square kilometres (280 square miles) — nearly the size of New York City. The park aims to generate 30 gigawatts of solar and wind energy, capable of powering the homes of 18 million people, surpassing the combined populations of London and New York.
Adani is set to produce 17GW, with other companies contributing the rest. The project is slated to produce a third more power than China’s Three Gorges Dam, currently the world’s biggest power-generating facility.
Total Energies Boost and Manufacturing Hub Milestones
Adani Green Energy’s flagship scheme, a showcase of India’s clean energy aspirations, received a significant boost as France’s TotalEnergies acquired a 19.7 per cent stake for $2.5 billion three years ago. In Mundra, the site of India’s largest commercial port under another Adani arm, the manufacturing hub is producing key components for their ambitious solar and wind energy ventures, crafting colossal wind turbine blades nearly 80 meters long and churning out solar panels on high-tech production lines nearby.
Adani proudly declared on X, formerly Twitter, that they are establishing one of the globe’s most extensive and integrated renewable energy manufacturing ecosystems. New Delhi’s call for ambitious clean energy projects to achieve 500 gigawatts of renewable capacity, meeting half its energy needs by 2030, aligns with his commitment to invest an estimated $100 billion in the energy transition. When fully operational, Adani’s renewable energy park will constitute a quarter of India’s current wind and solar capacity.
Despite refuting Hindenburg’s accusations as “maliciously mischievous,” Adani faces political scrutiny, with opponents accusing Prime Minister Modi of aiding the billionaire’s rapid ascent, allowing preferential contract wins and circumvention of regulatory oversight. Both hailing from Gujarat, he has frequently lauded the PM’s policies, mirroring India’s ambitious clean energy goals.