Reliance Industries Ltd has swooped in and snatched the rug from right under China’s feet. China has been eyeing the status of a global clean energy leader, even if not in the immediate term, at least, in the decades to come. While China is home to the world’s fifth-largest volume of lithium deposits, the country’s electric car industry relies on imports to meet 80% of its needs. Lithium, the most important metal required for Li-ion batteries used in electric vehicles, is a finite resource and its demand is set to skyrocket as EVs begin to replace fossil fuel-run vehicles.
China, much on expected lines, cites geographical and terrain difficulties to tap on their large lithium reserves. However, the actual reason might be purely an economic one, which will reap immense benefits for the Chinese economy in the long run. Being the street-smart nation that it is, China is waiting for countries at the top of the chart, with the largest lithium reserves, to begin exhausting their reserves. China will, therefore, look to be the lone exporter of metal then.
And this is just one example of how China is planning to dominate the clean energy sector in the times to come. However, India is beginning to take steps that spill water over such hegemonic Chinese plans, which is why Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries has announced an embrace of clean energy deals, including the acquisition of REC Solar Holdings AS (REC group) and Sterling & Wilson Solar Ltd.
Reliance Snatches REC Solar from China National Bluestar (Group) Company Limited
RIL unit Reliance New Energy Solar said it acquired REC group from China National Bluestar (Group) Co. Ltd at an enterprise value of $771 million. The acquisition comes in quick succession after Ambani unveiled RIL’s Rs 75,000-crore push into clean energy over three years in June. RIL plans to spend Rs 60,000 crore on four so-called Giga factories. One of the four factories will make solar photovoltaic (PV) modules.
According to a statement by RIL, the acquisition would help Reliance grow in key green energy markets globally, including in the United States, Europe, Australia and elsewhere in Asia, it said, adding it would support REC’s planned expansions in Singapore, France and the United States.
So, Reliance is actually rubbing the acquisition of REC Group from China in Beijing’s face. By specifically pointing out how the acquisition will help Reliance grow in the global clean energy market, Reliance has in no uncertain terms told China that it has dealt its fortunes and plans a huge blow.
Reliance Industries Buys Two Green Firms in a Day
Within a day, Mukesh Ambani has severely propelled Reliance Industries’ rise as a major clean energy player around the world. Reliance New Energy Solar Ltd (RNESL) on Sunday agreed to acquire up to 40% stake in Sterling & Wilson Solar (SWSL) for approximately a total payout of Rs 2,845 crore. Sterling and Wilson is one of the world’s leading EPC (engineering, procurement, construction) players, and has executed projects worth 11 GW across the globe
According to the Economic Times, with the two transactions, Reliance will become among the top players in two crucial areas of solar renewable projects: solar cell manufacturing and EPC, a time when the dominance of Chinese manufacturers has come under heightened global scrutiny. It also gives Reliance access to cutting-edge technology and global manufacturing capabilities as well as a domestic base that will help the group with a strong foundation.
Reliance Industries’ Hydrogen Push
Presently, our cars and public transport consume way too much oil or natural gas, and they also release toxins into the environment doing further damage to the climate change campaign. So, the world is looking at electric vehicles (EVs) as its solution. However, there is a far better solution –hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles (FCVs).
Reliance Industries plans to provide supporting infrastructure in areas of hydrogen, integrated solar PV and grid batteries. According to a report by Morgan Stanley, the focus on the hydrogen value chain offers significant opportunities to decarbonise energy operations, compliment energy storage with batteries and potentially export green ammonia.
Reliance Industries is really leading a crusade to put India on the global clean energy domination map, while it severely hurts Chinese interests in the same sector, which many estimates, by 2030 will grow to have a $5 trillion valuation.