Reliance Industries announced major initiatives in renewable energy, marking a significant shift from its roots as a producer of fossil fuels, by unveiling plans to invest ₹75,000 crore over the next three years, principally in building four world-scale factories to supply to the solar and green hydrogen ecosystem.
Chairman Mukesh Ambani detailed the proposed investments in green energy at the company’s 44th Annual General Meeting, which was held virtually for the second year due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
RIL said ₹60,000 crore would be spent to set up four “giga plants” over the next three years, while another ₹15,000 crore would be invested in value chain, partnerships and future technologies to complement this investment.
“New Energy is the most exciting, most challenging and most purpose-driven mission I will be pursuing in my life,” Ambani told shareholders.
Yasir Al-Rumayyan, chairman of Saudi Aramco, will also join the RIL board as an independent director, Ambani said.
He assured shareholders that previously announced plans to induct Saudi Aramco as a strategic partner in its core oil-to-chemicals (O2C) business were on track and (the deal) will be closed this year.
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet, also addressed the meeting as Ambani announced Reliance Jio will launch an ‘ultra-affordable’ 4G smartphone in partnership with Google on September 10. The company also outlined various initiatives with other tech majors, Facebook-owned WhatsApp and Microsoft.
RIL’s share closed 2.35% down on BSE at ₹2,153.35 on a day the Sensex rose 0.75%.
The Dhirubhai Ambani Green Energy Giga Complex will be set up over 5,000 acres in Jamnagar to house the four mega factories.
These factories would make integrated solar photovoltaic modules, advanced energy storage batteries, electrolysers for green hydrogen, and fuel cells for converting hydrogen into motive and stationary power. RIL aims to establish and enable 100 GW of solar energy capacity as part of India’s plan to achieve 450 GW of operational assets by 2030.
"We will target to achieve costs that are lowest in the world to ensure affordability of our solar modules," Ambani said.
RIL also plans to use raw silica to manufacture ingot and wafers, components for which India primarily depends on China for imports.
"Backward integration from the polysilicon stage can build true competencies and reduce India's dependence on China in this sector," said Hetal Gandhi, director, CRISIL Research.
Ambani said the company will soon reveal its plans for new material and green chemicals.