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India builds world’s largest renewable energy project

Dec 06, 2023


India’s Adani Green Energy is constructing a 30-gigawatt hybrid renewable energy park, combining wind and solar on the salt flats of Gujarat, one of the largest salt deserts in the world. The Khavda Renewable Energy Park spans 280 square miles and aims to contribute significantly to India’s goal of installing 500 gigawatts of clean energy by 2070.

The Indian government estimates it will cost at least $2.26 billion USD.

On Tuesday, Dec. 5, Adani Green Energy announced a $1.36 billion USD green loan from an international bank to support the expansion of its renewable power capacity.

The funds will be used for the development of the Khavda Renewable Energy Park, located in the middle of the Rann of Kutch in the western state of Gujarat.

The Rann is an unforgiving salt desert and marshland. It is considered a “wasteland” by Indian government standards. Environmental experts and social activists disagree with that assessment.

“The salt desert is a unique landscape” that is “rich in flora and fauna,” including flamingos, desert foxes and migratory bird species that fly from Europe and Africa to winter in this region, according to Abi T. Vanak, a conservation scientist with the Bengaluru-based Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment.

Regarding renewable energy projects exempt from environmental impact assessments, “there is no system in place” to determine the best places for them, according to Sandip Virmani, an environmentalist based in Kutch.

He fears that dairies and other local businesses in the region might be impacted by large-scale projects.

“It has to be in the context of not compromising on another economy,” Virmani said.

Flamingos — among other migratory birds — typically arrive in the southern and western coastal regions of India in December after completing their breeding cycle in the Rann.

This cycle involves mating, building mud nests, laying eggs and hatching.

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