At the inauguration of the first assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), Global Renewable Energy Investment and Expo (RE-Invest), and the second Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Meet, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke about the government’s mission and plans in the renewable energy space. Excerpts from his speech at Vigyan Bhawan on October 2, 2018…
Whether it is the ISA Assembly, the Global RE-Invest or the IORA Meet, the broad objective of all these three is the same – preparing alternative energy for a green future.
In the last 150-200 years, the human race has largely been dependent on fossil fuels for meeting its energy requirements. And we all bear testimony to the fact that nature has rejected it and even today, it is rejecting it. Nature is constantly giving us this message that the energy available above the ground, be it solar, wind or hydro power, is the solution for a better and safe future.
I still remember that I had put forth India’s resolve for moving from megawatt to gigawatt in the field of renewable energy before our countrymen at the first meeting of RE-Invest three years ago. I had clarified this at the time that we will be able to take advantage of solar and green energy only when it becomes affordable and easily available. And I had also put forward a proposal to create a common platform of countries rich in solar resources. I am happy that we have received unprecedented success in taking forward these schemes in an extremely short span of time.
Today, the ISA has emerged as a big ray of hope for the world. Within three years, this organisation has become a treaty-based inter-governmental organisation. The ISA is headquartered in India. This further increases our affinity towards the ISA.
I believe that whenever the issue of top human welfare organisations established during the 21st century will be discussed, the ISA’s name will figure at the top of the list. We have created a massive platform in the form of the ISA for ensuring climate justice. All of us have collectively provided a huge gift linked to humanity to the future generations. I have always believed that the ISA is going to play the same role that is being played by the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in meeting the energy needs of the world today. Sun rays are going to play the same role in the future that is being played by oil wells today. I especially express gratitude to the United Nations (UN) for providing active support in taking the initiative of the ISA to where it is today.
Representatives of over 40 countries are present at this first assembly of the ISA. However, now we need to move forward in that direction, where these options of solar energy do not remain confined to the 100 or 125 nations located around Capricorn but the entire world should benefit from it. As per the spirit of universal cooperation on solar energy, India is going to put forward a proposal for the membership of all the members of the United Nations in the ISA Assembly.
India, being an important member of this organisation, gives a lot of importance to the IORA. We have similar challenges in the field of energy. That is why, given our energy security requirements, all of us need to lay a collective emphasis on renewable energy. I have already placed the spirit of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) before everybody earlier. I am confident that this meeting will open new doors of cooperation.
The impact of increasing the use of renewable energy in India is now becoming visible. We have started working on an action plan for the deployment of renewable energy to meet the targets set under the Paris Climate Agreement. We have decided to produce 40 per cent of our electricity through non-fossil fuel-based resources by the year 2030. As per this target, we have doubled our renewable energy capacity to 72 GW in the last four years. Our solar energy capacity has grown by nine times.
Today, non-hydro renewable energy accounts for 20 per cent of the total electricity produced by us. Not only this, we are going to add nearly 50 GW of capacity to it very soon. It is a clear indication that we have been successfully moving on the path to achieving the target of 175 GW by 2022 that we have set for ourselves, and we will certainly be able to achieve it.
Today, India is accelerating its speed of development with the new confidence of “poverty to power”. We have selected the same source to provide strength to our new confidence that has been a source of our strength and energy for thousands of years. From Ved to Yog, the Sun has been the source of our thinking, our worship, and our internal energy. We are now determined to convert this internal energy into a solution for our external energy requirements through the power of modern science.
India has been working in the field of solar power at a rapid pace. In the last four years, solar power has become very affordable, which has made possible our target to connect several poor people with electricity at a rapid pace.
“Panel to Power” and “Make in India” are very important milestones in our target of providing electricity to every household. I am happy that India has emerged as the most preferred destination in the field of renewable energy in the last four years. An investment of nearly Rs 42 billion has been made during this period.
These changes taking place in the field of solar power provide not only an opportunity for foreign investment but also an unprecedented opportunity for our entrepreneurs. We have been trying to create a strong ecosystem for solar panel manufacturing in the country. This is the most appropriate time for investing in the renewable energy sector. I see the possibility of business worth nearly $70 billion-$80 billion in this sector in the next four years.
Along with power generation, power storage is also extremely important, and the work for creating the necessary infrastructure for this has been done under the National Energy Storage Mission. Under this mission, the government has been laying emphasis on providing the necessary policy support for demand creation, indigenous manufacturing and innovation, and for increasing energy storage capacity.
Arrangements have been made to install solar panels in farms in villages and for connecting them with the grid through KUSAM (Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Utthan Maha Abhiyan). Nearly 280,000 solar pumps will be installed across the country in the next four years. A target of producing nearly 10 GW of electricity through these pumps has been set.
In addition to solar and wind power, we have been working on B-3, which means biomass, biofuel and bioenergy, at a fast pace. Serious efforts have been made to develop a clean fuel-based transport system in India. We have been turning this challenge into an opportunity by producing bio-fuel from biogas. We have put forward a massive scheme, GobarDhan (make money through cow dung), for this purpose. Several novel experiments have been conducted across cities and villages for converting waste into energy.
For the protection of environment, work is already being carried out in the field of renewable energy, but conservation of electricity is also among our priorities.
Today, a massive movement to illuminate homes, streets and roads through LED bulbs has been going on in every nook and corner of the country under the UJALA (Unnat Jyoti by Affordable LEDs for All) scheme. Nearly 310 million LED bulbs have been distributed under the scheme.
I would like to say it once again that this is just the beginning. The future is full of several opportunities. We must look at the possibility of every opportunity related to climate justice for future generations and we must succeed.
We have started with one dream: “One World, One Sun, One Grid”. If we materialise this mission, you can imagine that if the grid starts at the place of sunrise and goes on till the time the sun sets, we can harness electricity from the sun round the clock. Today, we only think in terms of availability of sunlight in hours in our own country. However, if we move ahead with the dream of “One World, One Sun, One Grid”, then it will not be impossible to produce electricity somewhere at some point of time because the sun must be shining on some place on earth all the time. So, if the sun never sets, then why should the generation of electricity stop?
There is a need to think in a novel way. And I believe that we will certainly move ahead to play our important role in building a new world with new confidence, with new ideas, with new energy and new resolve on the occasion of this important programme of the ISA.