Strategies that mitigate climate change resulting from increasing concentration of greenhouse gas emissions while promoting sustainable and equitable development are needed to be taken rapidly and immediately by countries world-wide.
The Indian Government is all set to unveil a mega solar power capacity addition plan to make India the global leader in solar energy.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has convened a meeting of Council on Climate Change on August 3 to give a final nod to the plan that aims to add 20,000 MW of generation capacity by 2020 and makes it as cheap as electricity from conventional sources. The mega plan would seek an investment of nearly Rs. 1 lakh crore over a 30-year period.
Highly placed sources said that to kick-start the whole thing in a big way, the Government was likely to make a huge outlay, which could be Rs. 4,000-6,000 crore, in the XI Plan. The outlay would be doubled during the XII Plan (2013-17).
“The idea is to send out a clear message to the country and the international community that India is serious on its approach to climate change. The plan implementation would be done through the National Solar Mission,” a senior official remarked.
Earlier the government’s repeated talk of putting climate change agenda on top of its priorities was hardly reflected in the Budget, which made just a cursory mention of the subject as well as other environmental issues. All that Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said in his Budget speech was that the government would provide the “necessary funds” for the eight missions launched under the National Action Plan on Climate Change that was unveiled by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last year. No amount was mentioned.
Most of the eight missions are still to be readied and that probably explained the absence of any financial allocation in the Budget. But the Budget was completely lacklustre on other environmental areas as well, including the need to push for energy efficiency or supporting schemes for bringing clean energy sources to rural households.
Now, the announcement of the solar mega capacity additional plan gives more hope for the Climate Groups and Environmentalists.
The objective of the mega solar power plan is to ensure that the country has a capacity addition of one lakh MW by 2030 and two lakh MW of solar power by 2050. It would also seek solar power cost reduction to achieve grid tariff parity by 2020.
Experts have been faced with the challenge of producing solar power as cheaply as from coal or hydel sources. This is the main obstacle to be tackled by reducing the cost of solar power generation to Rs. 4-5 per kWh by 2017-20. The objective of the mega plan would be to achieve rapid scale up to drive down costs, to spur domestic manufacturing and to validate the technological and economic viability of different solar applications.
Reference: The Hindu Daily