Indian billionaire Gautam Adani said his Adani Group conglomerate will spend $70bn to amass a 45GW renewable energy portfolio by 2030 and produce the world’s cheapest green hydrogen.

Adani Group will also build gigawatt-scale solar manufacturing capabilities as part of a mission to become "the world’s largest renewable energy company" by the end of the decade.

"We believe the combination of our renewable capacity and the size of our investment makes us the leader among all global companies in the effort to produce cheap green electricity and green hydrogen," Adani was quoted by Indian media as telling the Bloomberg India Economic Forum.

"From an Adani perspective, we are very strongly positioned to produce the world's least expensive hydrogen, which is expected to be an energy source plus feedstock for various industries that we intend to play in."

Adani’s green hydrogen ambitions reflect those of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who earlier this year put renewable H2 centre-stage in the nation’s economic plans as a driver of energy independence.

The Adani Group on its corporate website says it is "not too difficult to imagine a scenario where green hydrogen at a price of less than $1/kg – coupled with the projected reduction in the cost of combined cycle hydrogen turbines and fuel cells – will not only allow the country to make a transition from fossil fuels, but will also free India from the debilitating financial burden of energy imports".

The International Energy Agency puts the current cost of green hydrogen at $3-8/kg, compared to $0.50-1.70/kg for unabated grey hydrogen made using fossil fuels.

It is unclear by what metric Adani’s ambition to be "the world's largest renewable energy company without any caveat" should be judged, but the 45GW by 2030 mentioned at the Bloomberg event would in headline capacity terms leave it trailing far behind European groups such as Enel and Iberdrola – the former is pitching to have 145GW under its wing by then.

The group’s Adani Green Energy unit is, however, already a contender for world’s largest solar developer, with a 24GW portfolio following this year’s $3.5bn deal to buy the PV assets of Japanese-owned SB Energy.

French oil and gas supermajor TotalEnergies in January this year tied up a deal for a 20% stake in Adani Green and deepened a long-standing solar partnership between the two, as part of the French group’s own renewable growth ambitions.

Adani, Reliance Industries owned by fellow billionaire Mukesh Ambani – which itself has a 100GW 2030 solar goal – and Goldman Sachs-backed ReNew Power will lead a push to fulfil Modi’s massive ambitions, which have just increased to a 500GW clean energy base by 2030 as part of his net zero commitment to the COP26 summit.