On India visit, French President Macron pledges 700 million euros for new solar projects

France had already committed 300 million euros to the initiative when it co-founded with India a global alliance in 2015 to unlock new cash for solar projects in sunny yet poor nations.

india Updated: Mar 11, 2018 23:09 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Jayanth Jacob
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Emmanuel Macron,solar projects,Renewable enery resources
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Emmanuel Macron at the International Solar Alliance Founding Conference in New Delhi on March 11.(PTI Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged leaders from 33 countries on Sunday to ensure concessional financing for promoting solar energy and boost investment in renewable energy to fight climate change.

Modi by his side, French President Emmanuel Macron, who offered an extra $861.5 million by 2022 for solar projects in developing countries, called for scaling up efforts to promote renewable energy and took a dig at US President Donald Trump for pulling out of the Paris climate deal.

Modi and Macron co-chaired the founding conference of the International Solar Alliance (ISA), an initiative the two countries launched coinciding with the 2015 Paris climate meet which has so far been ratified by 30 countries. A total of 62 countries signed up for the alliance.

Addressing the gathering, Modi said India would generate 175 gigawatts (GW) of electricity from renewable sources by 2022, more than double the country’s existing renewable energy capacity.

Presenting a 10-point action plan, Modi said, “We have to provide concessional financing and less risky funds for solar projects” as he stressed on making solar technology affordable available to all nations, raising the share of electricity generated from photovoltaic cells in the energy mix and framing regulations and standards to support the initiative.

In agreement, Macron said $1 trillion will be needed to achieve one terawatt (TW) of solar power capacity by 2030 and pointed out there are financing and regulatory hurdles for achieving the target. He said the government, the private sector and civil society should come together to address this challenge.

As Macron hailed the “solar mamas”, a group of women trained as solar engineers, he said they had continued their mission to promote solar energy even after “some countries decided “ just to leave the floor and leave the Paris agreement”.

President Trump announced last June that the US was withdrawing from the Paris accord, signed by some 200 countries in December 2015 in their bid to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Modi called for rising above narrow private goals to make collective efforts for the betterment of mankind. He said India has launched the “world’s biggest renewable energy programme with a target to generate 175 GW of electricity from renewable sources”.

Of that, 100 GW is to come from solar and 60 GW from wind. “Of the target for solar energy generation, we have already achieved 20 GW installed solar power,” he said.

India needs some $83 billiont ill 2022 to meet its 175 GW target, according to industry estimates.

At present, the country’s installed renewable energy capacity is 63 GW. Solar and wind power tariffs have dropped to an all-time low of Rs 2.44 per unit and Rs 3.46 per unit, among the lowest in the world.

China is targeting over 360 GW of renewable capacity generation during the period.

Modi said the vedas have for thousands of years considered the sun as the soul of the universe and a nourisher of life. “We have to look at this ancient balanced and all-encompassing philosophy when we today look for ways to deal with the challenge of climate change,” he said.

Heads of government from 23 nations and 10 ministerial representatives from other countries gathered at Sunday’s meeting.

Macron said France would extend an extra 700 million euros ($861.5 million) through loans and donations by 2022 for solar projects in emerging economies.

France had already committed $300 million euros to the initiative when it co-founded with India a global alliance in 2015 to unlock new cash for solar projects in sunny-yet-poor nations.

First Published: Mar 11, 2018 15:37 IST