India’s state-owned oil and gas companies to join global solar alliance in green energy shift

Five of India’s biggest state-owned oil and gas firms will be joining the International Solar Alliance (ISA)’s Coalition for Sustainable Climate Action (ISA-CSCA) as corporate partners as part of their effort to make a clean energy transition, the oil minister said.

“In order to reduce carbon footprint, these companies will be focusing more on green energy investments such as renewables, biofuels and hydrogen going forward. We are also actively encouraging industry in general, and Oil & Gas companies in particular, become participants to this solar transition,” Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan told the First World Solar Technology Summit organized by th International Solar Alliance.

The five — Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC), Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) and GAIL (India) Limited will be contributing to ISA’s Corpus Fund.

Pradhan said that the oil & gas companies were also making efforts to deploy solar panels across the value chain of their operations, and current installed solar power capacity is 270 MW.

“Additional 60 MW solar capacity will be added in the coming year. We have taken up the mission of solarizing about 50% of fuel stations owned by Public Sector oil companies in the next five years. More than 5000 fuel stations of Indian Oil, the largest Public Sector Oil Marketing company, were solarized last year. A substantial amount of solar PV capacity was also added by Oil & Gas companies during the last few years,” he said.

Pradhan said the state-owned companies were increasingly evaluating new opportunities in the solar and renewable energy space for diversification. Recently, French energy major Total has also announced investments for buying about 2 GW operating solar plants in India.

“Despite the Covid-19 pandemic presented challenges, we are in the process of overhauling India’s supply chains and reduce overdependence on imports for solar modules,” the minister said indirectly pointing to India’s efforts to lower imports from China.

Expressing confidence that larger energy partnership of Indian oil and gas industry will pave the way for a new era of solar development not only within India but also outside, Pradhan said that the key to this transformation and transition is advances in solar technologies and their deployment at affordable prices globally.

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