Workers clean photovoltaic panels inside a solar power plant in Gujarat, India.
Total is paying $2.5 billion for a share in India’s Adani Green Energy Limited (AGEL) and its solar power assets, in what the French company said was its biggest investment yet in renewables.
As it furthers its strategic shift from fossil fuel, the deal will give Total a 20 per cent stake in AGEL and a seat on its board, as well as a 50 per cent share in the Indian firm’s portfolio of solar power assets.
AGEL is controlled by Indian conglomerate Adani Group and has a market capitalisation of about 1.483 trillion Indian rupees ($20.25 billion).
Growing investor pressure has spurred Europe’s top energy companies to outline plans to curb emissions and boost renewable energy output.
On Twitter, Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne said the deal with Adani “represents the biggest investment in renewables ever made by Total. It’s a further demonstration of our transformation strategy. By 2020, Total will be in the top 5 for renewable energy.”
Total’s shares dipped 0.7 per cent in early trading, as oil prices fell, but investment bank Barclays said Total was one of its top picks, with an “overweight” rating.
AGEL is targeting 25 GW of renewable power generation by 2025, and Total said AGEL would make an important contribution to meeting Total’s goal of 35 gigawatts (GW) of gross production capacity from renewable sources by 2025 from around 9 GW now.
Last week, Total became the first major energy company to quit the main US oil and gas lobby, the American Petroleum Institute, citing disagreements over the lobby’s climate policies and support for easing drilling regulations.
Along with the 20 per cent direct stake comes a 50 per cent holding in a portfolio of solar energy assets operated by AGEL, part of the Adani group, Total said in a statement.
The two companies have had a partnership accord since 2018, when Total acquired a stake in Adani Gas Limited.
India relies heavily on coal but has been moving into renewables and natural gas in an effort to reduce damaging pollution levels and costs.
Total described AGEL as the world’s biggest solar energy developer.
It operates 3.0 gigawatts of renewable energy assets, with another 3.0 GW under construction and 8.6 GW in development.
AGEL is aiming for 25 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2015. “Taking a stake in AGEL is a major step in the strategy put in place with Adani in renewable energy in India,” Total’s chief executive Patrick Pouyanne said in the statement.
“Given the size of its market, India is the right country to put in motion our strategy for energy transition based on the two pillars of solar and natural gas,” he said.
Meanwhile the Nakheel Malls, the retail arm of master developer Nakheel, has joined forces with Total - through its affiliate Total Solar Distributed Generation (DG) Middle East, dedicated to the development of distributed solar energy solutions - to install solar photovoltaic (PV) panels on the rooftops of Ibn Battuta Mall and Dragon Mart.
The PV panels can generate around 9 GWh of clean energy with an estimated reduction of over 3,500 tonnes of CO2 yearly. Around 12,000 PV panels will be installed at both malls, spanning around 35,000 sq m, said the statement from the company.
The solar solution, provided by Total, will help Nakheel Malls’ to reduce its carbon footprint, thus contributing to its sustainable development efforts in the UAE, it added.
The partnership agreement was signed in the presence of Omar Khoory, Chief Hospitality and Assets Officer, Nakheel, as well as Marin de Montbel, Managing Director, Total Solar DG Middle East and Mathieu Lauga, Key Account Manager, Total Solar DG Middle East.
“Given a growing global climate focus, it’s critical that governments work with the public and private sector on implementing clean energy solutions within urban planning,” stated Khoory.
“As part of our ongoing alignment with the leadership of Dubai, Nakheel Malls are committed to supporting efforts of the city’s clean energy strategy 2050. We are doing this through our partnership with Total by installing PV Solar panels at Dragon Mart and Ibn Battuta Mall with the aim to support a circular economy,” he noted.
According to de Montbel, Total Solar’s mission is to enable its customers to meet their sustainability goals by cutting their carbon footprint through photovoltaic rooftop systems and carports.
“Our solar rooftop project in partnership with Nakheel Malls is part of our commitment to address climate challenge by providing more energy with less emissions. It is fully in line with both our long-term growth strategy and our ambition to become a world leader in renewables,” stated the senior official.
The news that India’s two of the richest men in Indian are vying to be at the forefront of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambition to ramp up green energy capacity is uplifting (“Fossil fuel giants in fierce battle for solar domination,” July 9, Gulf Today).
Indian economy is likely to swell to $5 trillion mark ahead of its target of 2024 despite huge challenges and global trends. This was stated by T.N. Manoharan, non-executive chairman of India’s Canara Bank recently in Dubai,
Adding to the persisting concerns of a weakening economy, an IHS Markit report said that business sentiment in the country in June fell to the lowest level since 2016 as companies are worried over a subdued economy, government policies, regulation and water shortages.
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