The sun shone brighter in Delhi as delegates from over 100 countries gathered for the fifth assembly of the International Solar Alliance on October 18 to map new pathways for accelerating green energy transition. Against the backdrop of the raging Ukraine war, Union Power and New & Renewable Energy Minister R. K. Singh stressed on the need for ramping up production of renewables and solar energy. “We have to bring electricity to 700 million people in the world who are without access (to power) through clean sources,” said Mr Singh, adding that the ISA has really grown fast and now has over 90 members.
The past two years have provided us multiple reminders that the global dependence on fossil fuels is unhealthy, not just for the environment, but also for the economy, said the minister. “The good news is that we already have the tools we need to counter these, and the development in technology is making sure that even more effective resources are made available in the years to come. It is now up to us to decide how quickly we can deploy these.” “In this pursuit for energy transition, we also have the responsibility of enabling development in the parts of the world that lack access to energy and energy security,” said the minister.
Mr Singh and Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, France’s Minister of State for Development, Francophonie and International Partnerships, were re-elected as President and co-president of the International Solar Alliance, ISA Director General Ajay Mathur told reporters.
“We are facing an energy crisis due to the Ukraine war. We are the most affected. Our objective is to accelerate deployment of renewable energy,” said Ms Chrysoula. She added that this is not energy imperative, but (ISA or RE) is required for our (member nations) energy independence.
The alliance between India and France has made constant progress towards being an efficient, result-oriented international organization, said said Ms Chrysoula. She also pointed out that in response to the global energy market transition, the EU has already taken decisive steps and the renewable energies are the basis of EU’s response.
Highlighting the solutions to fight climate change and the development of technologies, Mr Singh pointed out that even more effective resources will be available in the years to come. He also emphasised that distributed generation, primarily powered by solar photovoltaic systems, is the most cost-effective and fastest solution. Solar, he said, has enabled India to set up mini grids in remote areas such as Himalayas or deserts.
Ms Damiola Ogunbiyi, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN Energy, was the keynote speaker at the inaugural session of the 5th ISA Assembly. She applauded the work done by ISA in supporting and advancing the solar ambitions of Member countries which has seen tremendous success over the last few years. She said that energy lies at the heart of the SDGs and is a part of the 2030 agenda. Ensuring universal access to energy, therefore, is imperative for development outcomes, such as job creation, economic development, food security, gender equality among others. She particularly highlighted the dire need for energy security in African countries.
On the sidelines of the Fifth ISA Assembly, the International Solar Alliance, in collaboration with the Asian Development Bank and the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, the Government of India will host a High-Level Conference on New Technologies for Clean Energy Transition on 19 October 2022 at Hotel Ashok, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi.
The minister stressed that ISA can assist member nations in formulating and implementing solar-ready policies and regulatory development of national energy landscapes and for engaging with public and private sector entities to leverage low cost financing to achieve ISA’s solarisation agenda. The ISA is structured as an international resource hub with in-house technical expertise that will be readily accessible by member nations and is capable of guiding project implementation at scale. The ISA has come a long way since its formation, and we are moving forward at a great pace, thanks to the guidance and support provided by each and every member of ISA.
(With inputs from Hema Narang, Samir Bhattacharya, Simran Walia)
- 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.
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