India is set to welcome delegates from 109 countries in its upcoming 5th Assembly of International Solar Alliance (ISA) in New Delhi. The assembly will be held following the historic move of India to declare the Modhera village in Mehsana district of Gujarat as country’s first 24×7 solar-powered village and the first to be a net renewable energy generator. The world-famous Sun temple in Modhera will also be facilitated with heritage lighting and 3D projection with the help of solar power.
In the assembly’s three days meeting from 17th to 20th October 2022, the delegates will discuss the three critical issues of energy access, energy security, and energy transition. India is swiftly moving towards an energy-resilient state with a greater consensus among the nations to promote renewable energy resources especially, solar power.
Equitable and affordable energy access
Through its generous efforts, India has been striving to make energy resources available on both national and international fronts. On the national front, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to make a historic move on October 9th, by declaring Modhera in Gujarat as India’s first 24×7 solar-powered village. It is a joint initiative by both central and state governments. A Solar power project integrated with a Battery Energy storage system (BESS) at Sujjanpura in Mehsana(Around 6kms from the Modhera Sun temple) will provide ‘solarization of Modhera sun temple and town’.
The houses in the village have been installed with more than 1300 rooftop solar systems of 1 kW capacity to generate electricity in the village. It has been a pattern of the PM Modi-led government to integrate infrastructure development with a cultural one. Similarly, by promoting solar energy in the remote village of Modhera, particular emphasis has been given to the world-famous Sun Temple. The heritage lightning and the 3D projection facility that exhibits the rich culture of Modhera temple will now run on solar energy.
India’s focus shifted to solar power as an energy resource in the 1950s with the launch of the 3rd Five Year plan(1961-66). From there till today, when India is the founder of the much-acclaimed ISA, it is particularly focused on the cost-effective energy-driven approach in the Least developed countries(LDCs) and the Small Island Developing States(SIDS).
It was under PM Modi’s vision and commitment, that built an entire arena for an energy-rich state. Through schemes like Atal Jyoti Yojana, PM KUSUM(Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Utthaan Mahabhiyaan), and the development of solar parks and ultra mega solar power projects, the present BJP-led government is ensuring affordable and equitable access of solar energy for its people.
Energy security – unlocking potential
Energy security has been a major concern for nations worldwide, especially due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. Many western nations are on the edge of a major energy crisis. The European nations have always been dependent on Russia for the import of natural gas and suffered a major setback after sanctions were imposed on the latter and also due to the recent leakage in the major connecting Nord Stream pipelines.
India on the other hand, has been sustainably managing its energy resources. In the upcoming ISA meeting, the mission will be to unlock the US $ 1 trillion of investments in solar by 2030 to reduce the cost of its technology and financing.
According to the Union Minister of State for New and Renewable Energy, Bhagwanth Khuba, India has achieved a solar installed capacity of approximately 57,705 MW till June-end this year. During the recently held 26th session of the Conference of Parties (COP26), India also pledged to achieve about 50 percent cumulative electric power installed capacity from non-fossil fuel-based energy resources by 2030.
The ISA has been working religiously since its launch in 2015, to ensure energy security for its members. While delivering energy access to 1000 million people using cleaner energy solutions, ISA also aims to provide energy security by installing 1,000 GW of solar energy capacity.
Energy transition – towards multilateral commitments
In the Glasgow session of COP26, India pledged to take a step towards a long-term goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2070. To achieve this, India has been making efficient efforts toward sustainable energy transition. Various bilateral and multilateral commitments have been made by India. On October 7th, US and India announced the launch of a new Energy storage Task Force to support the clean energy transition.
To be a global leader in terms of cleaner energy solutions, India has been moving at a fast pace in terms of the energy transition. From a fossil-based economy to a zero-carbon one, various schemes, programs, and commitments have been made by India. To fulfill its international pledges on energy transition, ISA is seen as an important vehicle.
An alliance of about 109 countries, a comprehensive commitment will be made by the nations in the upcoming meeting. The increased international cooperation will be a backbone for the energy transition and growing investment. It will also create millions of new green jobs in the crucial decade of climate action.
The upcoming ISA assembly will be presided over by the Union Minister for Power, New and Renewable energy minister, RK Singh, who said that the alliance is essential for the planet’s goal of energy transition and is also an answer to universal access to energy in the world.