Gurgaon: Gurgaon, better known as Millennium City for MNCs, BPOs and upscale residential sectors, on Monday got a new identity as the headquarters of the newly-launched International Solar Alliance (ISA) that will be devoted to harnessing solar energy.
“Just like the United Nations and WHO (World Health Organisation) are international organisations, the ISA is an international organisation and its headquarter will be in India, in Gurgaon,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at a function held to lay the foundation stone of the ISA headquarters and inaugurate its interim secretariat.
Modi, along with visiting French President Francois Hollande, jointly did the honours with France committing 300 million euros ($325 million/Rs.22 billion) for the initial projects of the ISA.
The ISA headquarters will come up on five acres of land in the campus of the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE).
A Modi initiative, ISA was jointly launched by him and Hollande in Paris last November 30 ahead of the Conference of Parties (CoP-21) climate summit. It is an alliance of some 120 countries situated between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
Modi said that the ISA was one of the two landmark initiatives that emerged during the two-week Paris summit, at which India and France played key roles. Apart from this, the US, France and India took the initiative of encouraging innovation for producing energy away from fossil fuels without affecting the environment and save the world from global warming.
“India proposed before the world that if petroleum producing countries can have an organisation of their own and African countries can have their own organisation, then why can’t there be an organisation of countries that receive sunlight for 300 or more days in a year,” he said.
Appreciating the role played by Hollande in the formation of the Alliance, Modi said after India expressed its keenness for a solar alliance, the French president was very helpful in this regard.
Hollande, he said, did everything possible to bring all nations together. He added that this Alliance, which would impact generations, would ensure that the world gets more energy and there is also a focus on innovation.
Speaking on the occasion, President Hollande said that the French Development Agency would allocate 300 million euros to develop solar energy over the next five years in order to finance the initial projects of the ISA.
“The initial projects must begin quickly. India has offered to set up the headquarters. The first meeting was held in Abu Dhabi a few days ago. The Alliance must begin work without delay in order to achieve tangible results on the ground,” he said.
According to the French president, the ISA must act in three ways: pool the demand of high-potential countries and use the resulting mass-effect to bring down the financing costs; harmonise the solar markets and open them up to reduce the cost of investments and for users; and enable the necessary technology transfers between developed and developing countries.
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Hollande said that at the Paris climate summit, India had shown that it was ready to commit fully to energy transition and the fight against climate change by committing to reduce its carbon intensity by 35 percent by 2030, as compared to that in 2005 and to produce 40 percent of its electricity from renewable energy by 2030.
He said that the ISA was faced with the challenge of raising global investment to the tune of 1,200 billion euros required to develop solar energy by 2030.
“The aim is for 1,000 gigawatts to be installed over the next 10 years,” he said.
He said that in order to achieve these objectives, the ISA should pool the energy demands of high-potential countries and use the resulting mass effect to bring down the financing costs, harmonise the solar markets and open them up to reduce the cost of investments and for users and enable the necessary technology transfers between developed and developing countries.
The French President said that several French-Indian projects would be launched in order to contribute to the success of the ISA , and a number of agreements have been signed for this purpose.
Expressing appreciation for the Indian Government’s programmes launched for “smart cities”, clean energy, energy efficiency and fight against pollution, the French President said that his country would participate in the 100 Smart Cities programme launched by the Indian government.
He said that this initiative could be linked to the ISA projects by helping to increase public lighting and supplying solar electricity to these cities.