Global solar alliance set to trigger clean energy drive

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi being received by the President of France Francois Hollande, on his arrival for the UNFCCC Climate Conference, in Paris, France

Prime Minister Narendra Modi invoked the Sun God worshipped by millions of Indians to launch a grand solar alliance in a bold attempt to wean the world away from fossil fuel and direct it towards clean energy.

The alliance of more than 120 countries launched with French President Francois Hollande at the Paris COP21 climate summit was welcomed by stakeholders who said the initiative will bring electricity to the poor and help economic development in energy-starved developing countries.

Modi described the alliance as “the sunrise of new hope, not just for clean energy but for villages and homes still in darkness, for mornings and evening filled with a clear view of the glory of the sun”.

He told a press conference that the dream of universal access to clean energy was becoming more real as solar energy evolved, costs dropped and grid connectivity improves.

“What we are putting in place is an avant garde of countries that believe in renewable energies,” Hollande said.

“What we are showing here is an illustration of the future Paris accord, as this initiative gives meaning to sharing technology and mobilising financial resources in an example of what we wish to do in the course of the climate conference,” he told the press conference.

The Indian government is putting in $30m (£20m) for an alliance headquarters in India. Eventually, the plan is to raise raise $400m from membership fees, and international agencies.

“Accelerating the development of solar power will spur the creation of new jobs and significant economic development as well as helping those in areas that are still lacking access to electricity,” the Business Standard newspaper quoted Tata Group Chairman Cyrus Mistry as saying in a statement.

It said the stakeholders felt the solar alliance can be a platform to scale up access to energy in developing countries, but they also raised the issue of funding.

“Scaling up renewable energy in India is undoubtedly one of the key steps to ensure the world stays on track to avoid the dangerous consequences of an increased climate change,” Ramadas Kamath, executive vice president of Infosys, told the newspaper.

India has pledged to draw 40 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030.

The United States and 18 other countries have promised to provide $20 billion for clean energy research by 2020, and a separate Breakthrough Energy Coalition hs been launched by Bill Gates and Mark Zukerberg.

 

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