Renowned industrialist and founder and chairman of Adani Group Gautam Adani addressed a gathering of thousands of entrepreneurs and investors on the occasion of TiE 2021.
New Delhi: Renowned industrialist and founder and chairman of Adani Group Gautam Adani addressed a gathering of thousands of entrepreneurs and investors on the occasion of TiE 2021.
During this address, he explained how digital and technological advances will provide the most viable security measures against climate disaster. The Adani Group is investing 20 20 billion in green technologies over the next decade.
Let us know what he said:
It is good to be back at TiE 2021. I am told that the registrations have exceeded 40,000, making this
the largest ever TiE event, the largest ever entrepreneurship conference, and the largest ever gathering of social enterprises in the world.
This is indeed the greatest platform for entrepreneurs and as a fellow entrepreneur, there is no other stage where I feel more at home.
I also see that “Start Up Nation Central” from Israel and the “Government of Costa Rica” are partners
in this summit. Their participation is the perfect representation of the top two themes of the ongoing
global conversation — Sustainability and Technology.
There is no greater country than Costa Rica when it comes to commitment to sustainability — a nation where 98% of its energy needs is met by renewable sources. And there is no greater nation than Israel when it comes to technology leadership.
If there were ever a time when the world needed motivated entrepreneurs to help solve the biggest
challenges that we, as humans, have perhaps ever faced, that time is now. I am glad to see that the
entire TiE summit this year is devoted to the topic of sustainability.
Let me start by setting some context. The Covid-19 pandemic demonstrated the world’s inability to
react effectively to a multidimensional global crisis that demands coordinated policy responses. It
showed how quickly system breakdowns can cascade from one area to the other. It exposed the
severe gaps in basic systems, including healthcare, education, mass transit networks, supply chains,
and financial markets.
The way we have led our lives and done business over the past 50 years cannot continue. At least,
pandemics like Covid-19 can be countered by vaccines. The Director-General of the World Health
Organization (WHO) summarized it well when he said there is no vaccine for climate change!
The annual rate of increase in atmospheric CO2 emissions since 1970 is up almost 100 times. The search for sustainable solutions starts with admitting that the current situation is unsustainable. An even bigger concern is the impact climate change will have on the poorest segment of the population. studies show that the social impact of climate change is irreversible.
Therefore, the task before us is not just to find solutions to climate change, but also to ensure —
through science, policy, and technological development — that the principles of equitability are not
Solutions should allow us to bridge the tradeoffs between economic, social, privacy, and environmental policies. A CO2 molecule released in the west is just as damaging to the east. A CO2 molecule released by the rich is just as damaging to the poor. A CO2 molecule released by the already-born is just as damaging to the soon-to-be-born.
As an entrepreneur, I stay optimistic. It is my belief that the Covid-19 pandemic has forced us to find
the will to kickstart a massive ESG-driven economic transformation.
I am also confident that the most viable climate change solutions will be digital, and technology driven — supported by policies that help accelerate adoption. My optimism comes from the realization that the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic would have been far more terrible had the digital technologies of today been absent. This should be an indication of the opportunity before us.
I also believe this convergence of sustainability and digitization will establish new disruptive business models that will create the next set of unicorns. This is where organizations like TiE become essential
— they enable collaboration across entrepreneurs and investors who see opportunities wherever
intersections and friction exist. And the only way we can reduce the friction that sustainability
generates in today’s businesses is through the intersection with technology.
Let me now talk about India. Last year when I spoke here, I had said that over the next three decades
India will become a $28 trillion dollar economy. It is now expected that by 2050, India’s per capita
income will expand from about one-thirtieth of that of the United States (US) to one-third of the latter’s per
capita income. That is an astonishing rise.
Also, in 2050, the median age of 1.6 billion Indians will still be just 38 years. The world will never ever again see a middle class as large as the one India will have - and that at such a peak consuming age.
In addition, the digital acceleration in India is just beginning and will create a tailwind not yet factored into the assumed 8% nominal growth rate. I fundamentally believe the Indian economy is still to hit its inflection point of decades of double-digit growth. Therefore, I now think I may have understated my 2050 GDP projection of $28 trillion.
Also, given the sheer growth in end consumption rates, I expect India to become the world’s top
target destination for an immense quantum of FDI over this period, making the tailwind even stronger.
While we all realize that growth models are projections, it is my firm belief that the opportunities India
has ahead of it makes it the most exciting investment destination on the planet — specifically for
technologies that enable sustainability. This nation should be an entrepreneur’s dreamland.
Let me next discuss the specific opportunities around sustainability and drill down to where I see the
biggest near-term possibility. At the upcoming COP 26 summit in Glasgow in November, the world’s
most powerful countries will lay the foundation for a series of global policy changes.
I believe these will be transformational and will accelerate the economic opportunities arising out of the global effort to combat climate change.
As technologies evolve rapidly, these opportunities will equate to trillions of dollars of investments.
These will include next generation high efficiency solar panels, low carbon materials that make the
largest offshore wind turbines affordable, mainstreaming of carbon capture technologies, various fit-for-purpose battery technologies, algorithm-driven smarter and distributed grids, electric mobility,
and hydrogen-related technologies.
Of all these technologies, today, solar is the fastest growing source of power. Over the past decade,
the price of solar panels has dropped by 90% and possibly over the next decade we will see price
drops of the same magnitude as panels become even more efficient and new materials come into
play. The fact is that the marginal cost of solar power is moving towards “zero” and this is both
transformative and disruptive.
However, as always, it is the “combination” or “intersection” of technologies that creates disruptive
business models. The combination which I believe is a game changing model for sustainability is that
of solar generation and hydrogen production! It is fascinating that a photon can travel 90 million miles
in 9 minutes to hit a piece of silicon on Earth. This in turn generates an electron to split an H2O
molecule leading to the release a proton — or what we call a Hydrogen atom — and now seen as the
ultimate source of dense green energy.
In fact, our Earth receives enough photons every hour to meet our global energy needs for an entire year.
The ability of this near “zero” cost electron to economically split a H2O molecule and create 100%
green hydrogen in the future is a near certainty. Hydrogen is the trigger for the smarter use of other
renewables by becoming the long-term transport and distributed storage solution for electricity. It is
the key link in the energy transition journey that, along with wind and solar, will stabilize
decentralized power generation.
For India, decentralized power generation can be a massive game changer — especially for the rural
population. Decentralized power allows us to improve grid resiliency and micro size “everything”. It
enables micro-manufacturing, micro-agriculture, micro-healthcare, micro-education — everything
that India’s rural population today needs for empowerment and job creation.
While there are many challenges still to be addressed, I am confident that we are on the cusp of a hydrogen-driven revolution that can transform India, green India, and energize India. This is nation-building at its best.
I would even go as far as to state that the revolution in alternative energy technologies throws opens
the possibility that someday India can become a net green energy exporter! Hydrogen and its
derivatives can replace a significant amount of our imports of crude oil, natural gas, and coal.
This was impossible to even contemplate just 5 years back. Such is the power of the unification of
technologies that create the most disruptive business models. For an entrepreneur, this is paradise,
a landscape of endless possibility — global in nature - and spread over decades.
What makes all of this even more exciting is the intersection of sustainable energy with the advances
in digital technologies. This technology-driven energy transition will disrupt existing industries and
at the same time create new ones. Artificial intelligence is now an inevitable universal accelerator.
We live in a world where the convergence of powerful and inexpensive computing and the ability to
collect massive amounts of data is fast making AI a “General Purpose Technology” that will make a
tremendous difference to sustainability.
Be it the design of distributed grids that enable optimizing the energy sources feeding the grid or being able to design systems that are self-healing, or allowing the micro-sizing of energy — the possibilities are limitless. India, through the sheer strength of its supply and demand for energy will be among nations best placed to benefit.
While these scenarios emerge, the Adani Group is not sitting still. We are tripling our solar power
generation capacity over the next four years. This is a rate of growth currently unmatched by any
other company anywhere on the planet.
Our renewables portfolio has reached the initial target of 25GW a full four years ahead of schedule. Today, we are already the world’s largest solar power player. This puts us well on track to be the world’s largest renewable power generating company by 2030.
Also, over the next decade, we will invest over 20 billion dollars in renewable energy generation. Our
overall organic and inorganic investments across the entire green energy value chain will range
between 50 and 70 billion dollars.
This will include investments with potential partners for electrolyzer manufacturing, backward integrations to secure the supply chain for our solar and wind generation businesses, and AI-based industrial cloud platforms.
We are confident that our integrated value chain, our scale, and experience puts us on the road to be
the producer of the least expensive green electron anywhere in the world.
This advantage opens several new pathways for us including setting us up to be one of the largest green hydrogen producers in the world, thereby opening up additional possibilities to be a partner of choice for
several other industrial businesses.
As I wrap up, I would like to leave you with a message. A few research studies indicate that the Indus
Valley civilization underwent a period of climate change about 4,000 years ago. The outcome appears
to be uncertain.
However, today, we are aware of the effects of climate change and hence the outcome cannot be uncertain. What we need is the will — and who better than “The Indus Entrepreneurs” to enable this will.
The TiE platform is unmatched in scale, and it must take the responsibility to trigger a movement that brings together an ecosystem of entrepreneurs and investors that work together to build equitable solutions for a sustainable world.
Congratulations once again for this tremendous event and thank you for the opportunity to talk to all