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Adani move setback to India seeking to set up massive green hydrogen projects

By NS Venkataraman* 

All those who are keen that India should successfully set up massive green hydrogen projects to overcome the impending energy crisis, are greatly disappointed that Adani group has decided not to go ahead with the fully subscribed Rs.20,000 crore Follow On Public Offer.
Using this public offer of Rs. 20,000 crore, Adani group earlier announced that it would spend substantial amount to set up green hydrogen projects, which are unlikely to happen now.

Need for green hydrogen energy project

India presently imports around 80% of it’s crude oil requirement amounting to around 250 million tonne per annum,. India is also importing around 50% of India’s requirement of natural gas, which amount to around 35 billion cubic metre per annum.
Import requirement of crude oil and natural gas are likely to increase at 6 to 7% per annum in the coming years , as domestic production of crude oil and natural gas are likely to remain stagnant in the coming years.
Amongst many plans being implemented by government of India to reduce the use of fossil fuel and avoid global warming, promotion of green energy project in a big way is one of the very important strategies.
Government of India has allotted Rs.35,000 crore for green energy projects in the 2023-24 annual budget.
Government of India is targeting to generate five million tonne of green hydrogen annually from the year 2030, which is the quantity of (non-green) hydrogen consumed by the industry today.
This shift to green hydrogen would avoid 30 to 40 million tonne of carbon dioxide emissions per annum and avert import of more than ₹60,000 crore worth of natural gas and crude oil.

Adani group’s proposed plans

Adani group’s business spans coal trading, mining, FMCG (Adani Wilmar), sea port, solar power manufacturing, airports, roads, data centres, green hydrogen and so on.
If the proposed public offer would have been accepted by Adani group, about ₹10,800 crore would have been used to fund capital needs of green hydrogen project , airports and expressways.
Green hydrogen project proposal of Adani group cover green hydrogen eco system from scratch.
While a few other green hydrogen projects are in a preliminary stage in India, green hydrogen project proposal of Adani group is one of the largest.

A big setback for India’s project investment plans

Private sector investments in projects like what Adani group has announced have to happen in a big way, if India were to attain the target of 5 trillion dollar economy in the coming years.
Obviously, to attain this target , many massive projects require huge investment , for which large public issues of several thousand crores of rupees are required.
If such public issues were to be throttled and sabotaged by vicious and motivated campaign by some so called research groups, then, it would result in big setback for India’s future development programmes.
When an industrial group achieves spectacular growth, it is seen that those who cannot match the performance of the fast growing group view such performance with surprise and disbelief.
There have been cases and instances, where the competitors from India or abroad would try to indirectly launch campaign against the fast growing group and support negative campaign.
There have also been cases where motivated environmental groups have scuttled projects by carrying out hate campaign and stating unproven environmental violations against the particular companies. The immediate example is the closure of Sterlite Copper unit in Tamil Nadu.
There have been many instances to show such motivated campaign across the world for whatever reasons.
These conditions cause setback to India’s plans to achieve big leap forward.

Adani group - A victim of motivated campaign in this case

Vicious campaign against Adani group was carried out by US-based investment research firm known as Hindenburg Research, stating several vague allegations , some unproven violations.
Due to the massive publicity given to such campaign in Indian media before proper investigation , the gullible investors became panicky . In such circumstance, the share of Adani group have seen massive losses.
In such extraordinary circumstances, Adani group felt that going ahead with the fully subscribed issue will not be correct, since the interest of the investors have to be protected.
The net result of the situation is that India has lost massive investment opportunities in green hydrogen project.
Further, the motivated American research team and the detractors against India , wherever they may be, seem to be highly pleased and satisfied.
The entire Adani episode is a case of negative forces winning , which is a very unfortunate situation for a growing and developing country like India.
---
*Trustee, Nandini Voice For The Deprived, Chennai

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