AsianScientist (Apr. 18, 2013) – During his keynote speech at yesterday’s Fourth Clean Energy Ministerial in New Delhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pledged to double India’s renewable energy capacity by 2017.
It was the first time that the Ministerial meeting has been convened in India.
The Prime Minister emphasized the urgency to develop clean energy because of the scarcity of fossil fuel based energy and corresponding greenhouse gas emissions. Developing countries account for 82 percent of the world’s population and they use 55 percent of the available global supply of energy, he said. But they could not follow industrialized countries in meeting their energy requirements through fossil fuel based energy, as the impact on the global climate would be simply unsustainable, he said.
He asked industrialized countries – on any principle of equity – to bear a large share of the burden, as he said that they are historically responsible for the bulk of the accumulated greenhouse gas emissions and also the most technically advanced.
“These issues have been the focus of intense discussion in the Climate Change Negotiations being conducted under the auspices of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Unfortunately, progress in these negotiations is painfully slow. The goal of stabilising global temperatures at acceptable levels is nowhere in sight,” he said.
PM Singh explained how India had contributed to energy initiatives promoted by the Clean Energy Ministerial, such as by setting a national target of increasing the efficiency of energy use to bring about a 20 to 25 percent reduction in the energy intensity of India’s GDP by 2020 in the 12th Five Year Plan.
The Plan also envisages an expanded role for clean energy, including traditional sources of clean energy such as hydroelectric power and non conventional sources such as solar and wind power, he said.
“The full exploitation of hydel power has long been a part of India’s energy strategy, though there are environmental limitations in this regard owing to problems of submergence of forests and the need to rehabilitate affected populations. We will work to resolve these problems.
“We are also taking steps to exploit non conventional clean energy sources such as solar and wind power, and also energy from the bio mass. It is proposed to double the renewable energy capacity in our country from 25,000 MW in 2012 to 55,000 MW by the year 2017,” he said.
India has launched a Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission with the objective of developing 22,000 MW of solar capacity by the year 2022 covering both solar photovoltaic and solar thermal, said the Prime Minister. A research and development center for solar technologies will be set up by 2015, he said.
A solar capacity of about 1,500 MW has already been installed in the country, and an additional 10,000 MW will be implemented by 2017, he said.
India aims to improve the energy efficiency in sectors ranging from appliances, buildings, transport and industries.
“We are in the process of raising fuel efficiency standards in our transport sector. We have already decided to mandate five percent blending of ethanol in the motor spirit. We are also launching a National Mission on Electric Mobility and I am happy to state that the Government of India will be joining the Electric Vehicle Initiative of the Clean Energy Ministerial,” he said.
The PM also discussed the importance of financing of green energy, adding that the ministers were convening a separate session on the topic.
“Investments in green energy are subject to technological, commercial, and regulatory risk. For the moment green energy is not viable on its own without subsidy or regulatory incentives. Investors obviously need assurance that these incentives will continue. Market forces alone will not provide sufficient financing in this environment unless the risks of policy change are appropriately addressed,” he said.
Copyright: Asian Scientist Magazine.
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