Billionaire Adani exploring huge Morocco clean energy project

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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.

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

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The project, which would be 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 direct 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 fertilizer maker could use as feedstock to produce carbon-free ammonia, according to a separate person.

Adani didn’t respond to an email. Moroccan energy ministry, its fertilizer 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 percent this week, the biggest increase in two months, and beating the 2.4 percent advance in the benchmark index.

It could be years before we see any green hydrogen being exported to Europe, given 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, though 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 enable the decarbonization 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 the clean fuel.

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