Adani Group Establishes World's Largest Renewable Energy Park in Gujarat

Just an 18-kilometer drive from the airstrip leads to the sprawling Khavda renewable energy park, covering 538 square kilometers, approximately five times the size of Paris………….

In the remote expanse bordering Pakistan, Gautam Adani’s conglomerate has established the world’s largest renewable energy park in Gujarat’s Khavda region, boasting an impressive 45 GW capacity predominantly fueled by solar energy.

This area, initially devoid of infrastructure save for a portable toilet and a makeshift office, captured Adani’s attention in December 2022, when he ranked as the second wealthiest individual globally. Despite lacking basic amenities like a pincode and being surrounded by vast barren land, Adani discerned its potential.

The Barren Land 

Initially, the land lay barren with sparse vegetation due to its highly saline soil and lacked any nearby human settlements. However, with the second-best solar radiation in the country after Ladakh and wind speeds five times that of the plains, it emerged as an ideal locale for a renewable energy park. Just an 18-kilometer drive from the airstrip leads to the sprawling Khavda renewable energy park, covering 538 square kilometers, approximately five times the size of Paris.

Adani’s initial impression upon arriving at Khavda was one of astonishment—could one even spot a mosquito in such desolation, he mused. Nonetheless, his group embarked on transforming the landscape. Solar panels were deployed to convert sunlight into electricity, while windmills were erected to harness winds reaching speeds of up to 8 meters per second. Additionally, worker colonies were established, and desalination plants were constructed to make saline groundwater drinkable, sourced from depths of 700 meters. Furthermore, essential services like mobile phone repair shops were provided, thus metamorphosing the once barren wasteland into a flourishing hub of renewable energy production and sustainable living.

Investment Plan:

Adani Green Energy Ltd, India’s largest renewable energy company, plans to invest approximately Rs 1.5 lakh crore to generate 30 megawatts of clean electricity at Khavda in Gujarat’s Kutch, according to its Managing Director, Vneet Jaain. “We have recently commissioned 2,000 MW (2 GW) of capacity at Khavda and aim to add 4 GW in the current fiscal year and 5 GW annually thereafter,” he stated.

The airstrip is utilized to transport group executives from Mundra or Ahmedabad several times a week. The air traffic controller (ATC) at Bhuj, around 160 km away, serves as the final guidepost for airplanes heading to Khavda. However, its coverage extends only to ‘Tent City,’ and pilots are essentially on their own for the last leg of approximately 80 km, including landing. “We rely on visual aids and the airplanes’ navigation systems for landing. When taking off, we inform Bhuj about our plans over the phone,” remarked a pilot operating the Adani Group-owned aircraft.

The energy park’s outer boundary lies just one km from the international border with Pakistan, with the one-km buffer manned by the Border Security Force (BSF). Executives revealed that the airstrip was constructed in just 35 days in an area where even tractors had to be modified to operate due to the land’s poor water absorption. The region poses its own set of challenges, including heavy dust storms from March to June, inadequate communication and transport infrastructure, the nearest habitable area being 80 km away, water scarcity during the rainy season, and even saline groundwater. Nonetheless, accommodations are being developed to accommodate 8,000 workers, with plans reflecting Adani Group’s ambitious renewable energy goals, aiming to generate 500 GW of electricity from non-fossil sources by 2030 as part of a broader initiative to achieve net-zero emissions by 2070.