Asia’s richest person Adani aims for Europe with huge Morocco clean energy project

Billionaire's conglomerate is considering building wind and solar generation plants in the North African nation and units to produce green hydrogen for export

India’s Adani Group has launched a 648 megawatts solar project in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Courtesy ABB *** Local Caption ***  bz23se-india-solar-02.jpg
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Gautam Adani, Asia's richest person, is in exploratory talks for a giant renewables project in Morocco, which would aim to supply electricity and emissions-free fuel to Europe.

Mr Adani’s coal-to-ports conglomerate is considering building wind and solar generation plants in the North African nation and units to produce green hydrogen for export, according to people familiar with the proposals and who requested anonymity to discuss private details.

The project, which would be Mr Adani’s largest clean power development outside India, could be as large as 10 gigawatts, according to one of the people. That would be almost equal to Morocco’s existing installed energy generation capacity, which includes a total of about 2.8 gigawatts of wind and solar, according to BloombergNEF data.

The development would be delivered in two stages of 5 gigawatts and includes plans to supply power locally and to export some electricity directly to Europe, one of the people said. Under the proposals, Adani is also in talks with Morocco’s state-owned OCP Group for the sale of hydrogen, which the fertiliser maker could use as feedstock to produce carbon-free ammonia, according to a separate person.

Adani didn’t respond to an email. The Moroccan energy ministry, its fertiliser maker OCP as well as the state renewable energy agency Masen didn’t respond to emailed requests for comment either.

Shares of Adani Green gained 3.6 per cent this week, the biggest increase in two months, and beating the 2.4 per cent advance in the benchmark index.

It could be years before any green hydrogen is exported to Europe, given the progress in the technology. A 4GW green-hydrogen project in Saudi Arabia is slated to take four years to finish.

Nations in North Africa and parts of the Middle East are increasingly being identified as potential major green hydrogen hubs because of their abundant sunshine and wind, and proximity to key export markets including Europe. In July, India-based ReNew Energy Global signed an initial pact to build an $8 billion green hydrogen project in Egypt.

Adani aims to make his empire the world’s largest producer of clean power by the end of the decade, although he continues to make major investments in fossil fuels. He’s focusing heavily on development of a green hydrogen sector, and sees the zero-emissions fuel as key to enabling the decarbonisation of heavy industry in India and overseas.

Competitors including billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Ltd and India’s state-run energy giants like NTPC Ltd and Indian Oil Corp. are also seeking to be among leading champions of clean fuel.

Updated: October 22, 2022, 4:00 AM
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