India primed for renewables spurt in climate plan

World’s fourth-largest carbon polluter could target 300GW of clean capacity by 2030 in anticipated pledge to UN deal

The Solar Powered Village of Tinginapu, in the Eastern Ghats of Orissa:  Barefoot solar engineer Minakshi Diwan 20, tends to maintenance works in the solar village. The Orissa Tribal Empowerment and Livelihoods Programme (OTELP) is an organisation funded by DFID and run with the state government of Orissa.  The project took 4 women from a remote tribal village and trained them in Solar Powered Engineering, and installed Solar lighting in their village which had not seen electricity for over 15 years.  The Orissa Tribal WomenÕs Barefoot Solar Engineers Association has now got a contract to build 3000 solar-powered lanterns for schools and other institutions and is training other people in the community.

A women fixes a photovoltaic cell in the solar-powered village of Tinginapu, India (Flickr/ DFID)

By Alex Pashley

India could target 300 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2030 in its widely-awaited contribution to a UN-backed climate pact, national media reported on Monday.

That’s triple the power capacity of the United States’ 99 nuclear reactors, according to US Energy Information Administration data.

Prime minister Narendra Modi has already set bullish objectives for clean energy: 175GW installed by 2022, of which 100GW will be solar.

New Delhi daily Business Standard reported the figure, citing government sources, while the Economic Times said on Saturday ambition could “almost double”.

That would underpin a goal to cut emissions intensity – greenhouse gases per unit of GDP – 35-40% from 2005 levels by the end of next decade.

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The country is expected to deliver an “intended nationally determined contribution” (INDC) to the UN next month, ahead of a Paris summit where almost 200 nations are to sign a global warming agreement.

Environment minister Prakash Javadekar briefed media after two days of high-level meetings with the PM’s office to decide a strategy for the Paris summit.

Javadekar said India’s INDC would carry details of mitigation, adaptation, climate finance and transfer of technology in its emissions-cutting strategy, Business Standard reported.

He also dismissed advice from the country’s chief economic advisor, Arvind Subramanian, to tone down demands for cash from rich countries.

“Finance is not just finance for India, we are fighting for a cause,” said Javadekar.

The developed world has committed to mobilise US$100 billion a year of of climate finance by 2020, he added. “We are only reminding them of it.”

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