Countries around the world are looking for innovative ways to expand and green their economies to create opportunities for the global citizen.
Riding the wave of optimism post PM Modi’s visit envisioning Clean Energy for India, I participated in the Asia Clean Energy Forum hosted in Manila in June 2016 by the Asian Development Bank. Thought leaders, 250 speakers from across Asia and the Pacific, and beyond, the 46 sessions of discussions highlighted policy and regulatory frameworks; technology developments and applications; and business models and financing.
As Soham hones in on Solar Power, the buzz generated by the Indo-U.S. commitment to 100 gigawatts of Solar power fuelled by $100 billion of investment in the solar industry from foreign companies was palpable in Manila. Accelerating Renewable Energy Deployment, the U.S. and India’s cooperation on key issues to support the Government of India’s goal to deploy 175 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2022 are supported by an ambitious financial initiative.
India has a notoriously tight financing market, which has hindered clean energy development. The new $20-million U.S.-India Clean Energy Finance (USICEF) initiative will mobilize up to $400 million to provide clean and renewable electricity to up to 1 million households by 2020, promised by the White House, while another $40-million U.S.-India Catalytic Solar Finance Program will provide financing for small-scale renewable energy investment, expected to catalyze up to $1 billion worth of projects.
Initiatives like these are critical to building a clean energy economy in India, where close to 300 million people lack access to electricity. Given the fact that electricity generation infrastructure can last for decades, building renewable power rather than fossil-fuel dependent power means eliminating decades of future emissions.
There is also the issue of several states being uncooperative, especially when it comes to the leasing of land for the projects. Experts suggest that the Centre work closely with state governments to generate land banks for upcoming projects.
Despite these apparent stumbling blocks, India is the perfect ground for a solar revolution, given that it has approximately 2.97 million square kilometres of tropical and subtropical land and gets an average of 250-300 clear, sunny days annually. It is expected that by the end of 2016, it will be the world’s fourth largest solar player following the US, France and China.
Sanjith S. Shetty