By Prarthana Mitra
Declaring that India would satisfy 40% of its energy needs with non-fossil fuels by 2030, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said he believed that the International Solar Alliance (ISA) among like-minded nations could replace OPEC, the existing oil pact led by Saudi Arabia that controls the global supply of fossil-fuel based energy.
“Today ISA has become big hope for people,” Modi said, “In three years, it has become an inter-governmental organisation. 125 crore Indians feel pride that ISA is headquartered in India.”
Delivering the inaugural speech at the second Global RE-Invest meeting of Indian Ocean Rim Association and the first assembly of International Solar Alliance in Delhi, Modi said the answer to the global energy crisis lies in renewable and sustainable sources, sounding a call for the connection of solar energy supply across borders.
One World, One Sun, One Grid
In the presence of United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and foreign dignitaries including French PM Emmanuel Macron, Modi declared that the 121-country International Solar Alliance has the potential of becoming the future OPEC.
PM Modi & French Pres. are going to inaugurate interim Secretariat of International Solar Alliance (ISA) in Gurgaon. pic.twitter.com/rs60yIhI5w
— ANI (@ANI) January 25, 2016
“We have a dream One World, One Sun One Grid. We generate round the clock electricity from Sun as it sets in one part of the world but rises in another part. Sun never sets for entire earth,” he said with conviction that solar power will eventually play the same role fossil fuel plays today.
“Whatever role OPEC is playing today to meet the energy requirement of the world, that would be played by ISA in coming days. Whatever role is played by oil wells today, would be played by sunlight,” the prime minister said, further proposing to expand the scope of the ISA beyond 125 tropical countries which fall between Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn.
“India in the first assembly of ISA will propose to send all United National member nations the proposal to become a member of the body,” he informed the delegates assembled at the alternative energy summit. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj called the ISA “an action-oriented organisation,” applauding Modi for “said single-handedly putting India in the renewable map of the world.”
India will show the way
With depleting oil reserves, the time has come to consolidate and organise the supply of renewable power. Observing that this is an opportune moment to invest in renewable energy, Modi believed that the sector could reign in $70-80 billion of business revenue in the next four years, against the $42 billion that has been invested in clean energy in India over the last four years.
He further claimed that there has been a ninefold increase in India’s solar energy since his government came to power in May 2014. Speaking of India’s plans to contribute to ISA, Modi envisaged an addition of 50 GW of renewable energy to the existing 72 GW, and achieving the targeted 175 GW of clean (non-hydro) energy by 2022.
Laying the roadmap for further development, Modi said that at least 28 lakh solar pumps would be installed in the next four years, besides the projects already promised under the UJALA scheme. His government will take it upon themselves, he said, to ensure that non-fossil fuels are used to generate at least 40% of the electricity by 2030.
Antonio Guterres in his address seemed hopeful about the initiative, saying, “It is India where we are going to see global renewable energy revolution. Solar energy is at the centre of this revolution.”
Prarthana Mitra is a staff writer at Qrius.
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