The sun is set to shine brighter on the already robust India-UK relations, with British investors bullish about investing in India’s renewable energy sector that is expected to burgeon under the new Narendra Modi government.
UK Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Baroness Sandeep Verma has struck an upbeat note on the prospects of collaboration between India and the UK in the sunshine industry of renewables. “Britain has invested $40 billion in renewable energy. A million jobs have been created. We have the right renewables technologies for India,” Baroness Verma told select journalists in an interaction in New Delhi.
The Amritsar-born UK minister, a Conservative peer, is enthusiastic about the plans of the Narendra Modi government to upscale the share of renewables in India’s overall energy mix. “Prime Minister Modi introduced solar energy and renewable energy in Gujarat when he was the chief minister of the state. What has come out clearly is that the new government has put renewable on the map,” she said.
Baroness Verma recently visited Delhi, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan and explored tie-ups in solar and renewable sector. In her meeting with India’s Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar, Baroness Verma made a special pitch for collaboration in the field of solar energy. She offered Britain’s help in joint manufacturing in the renewable sector and skill upgradation.
Britain has become the hottest destination in Europe for solar energy, with ten million homes in the UK expected to get solar electricity in the next six years. According to market-research firm Solarbuzz, the U.K. will overtake Germany as Europe’s largest installer of solar panels, accounting for 6% of the world’s new solar facility.
Showcasing Britain’s prowess in a host of renewable energy sectors, Baroness Verma also placed her bets on the encouraging business environment under the new dispensation in New Delhi. “It’s a two-way partnership – it’s a very welcoming business environment in India. Britain is the largest G20 investor in renewable sector,” she said in response to a question from India Writes Network, www.indiawrites.org
Climate Change: India should show the way
In the run-up to the international climate change negotiations conference in Lima in February 2015 and the summit in Paris that is expected to pave the way for a post-Kyoto climate change action plan, the British minister hoped for a leadership role for India, Asia’s third largest economy which has proactively joined global efforts to combat global warming. “India has got to play its role in climate change negotiations. We need India to take the lead and show the direction,” she said.
The British minister also welcomed the recent climate deal between the US and China, two of the world’s largest polluters, but exhorted them to be more ambitious in their emission cuts commitments. “It’s great to see US and China moving forward. Everybody wants them to do more. We will encourage them to be more ambitious.” “Britain is absolutely committed to addressing climate change. Going forward, we got to more ambitious. You don’t have to sacrifice development for combating climate change,” she said.
- Manish Chand is Founder-CEO and Editor-in-Chief of India Writes Network (www.indiawrites.org) and India and World, a pioneering magazine focused on international affairs. He is CEO/Director of TGII Media Private Limited, an India-based media, publishing, research and consultancy company.