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Indian Prime Minister wants clean energy subsidies, doubling of renewables by 2017

18 April 2013
Indian Prime Minister wants clean energy subsidies, doubling of renewables by 2017

NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has announced his ambitious plans for green growth at the fourth annual Clean Energy Ministerial in New Delhi this week, including goals to double renewable energy capacity by 2017 and establish clean energy subsidies.

The Clean Energy Ministerial brings together leaders and energy ministers from 23 countries to discuss clean energy technology development and adoption, and this year was hosted in India for the first time.

During the inauguration of the Ministerial, Singh stressed the importance of clean energy in meeting the world's rapidly growing energy demand, in his inspiring speech: “First, we must contain the total growth in energy associated with the growth of GDP by improving energy efficiency. Second, we can work to shift from conventional to non-conventional or clean energy.”

Energy goals

In the inauguration speech, Singh said that India's 12th Five Year Plan is already a key strategy for sustainable growth: "We have set ourselves a national target of increasing the efficiency of energy use to bring about a 20 to 25% reduction in the energy intensity of our GDP by 2020." He said plans to achieve this target would include exploiting solar, wind and biomass.

Singh also announced a target to double clean energy when he said: "It is proposed to double the renewable energy capacity in our country from 25,000 megawatts in 2012 to 55,000 megawatts by the year 2017.”

Solar and EVs

Prime Minister Singh expanded on India’s positive solar ambitions in particular: “India is potentially a large market for production of [solar] equipment. It is also a potentially competitive and attractive production base for supplying other countries. We therefore strongly encourage global manufacturers to set up production facilities in this area.

He added that solar plans include the creation of an Institute that is expected to be established by 2015: “As part of the Solar Mission we are setting up a National Institute of Solar Energy, which would be a global level R&D centre, which could draw upon international cooperation as well, to enable the creation of more affordable and convenient solar power systems, and promote innovations that enable the storage of solar power for sustained, long-term use.”

On electric vehicles development in India, Singh also announced the launch of a National Mission on Electric Mobility, and that the Government of India is joining the Electric Vehicle Initiative of the Clean Energy Ministerial.

Clean subsidies

Concluding his bold speech, Singh said that market forces alone are not adequate enough to finance without the help of policy changes on subsidies: “For the moment, green energy is not viable on its own without subsidy or regulatory incentives. Investors obviously need assurance that these incentives will continue."

Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman also addressed the Fourth Clean Energy Ministerial, where he confirmed India’s clean energy goals and highlighted the importance of keeping up with China's leading low carbon growth. He said: "We are interested in incentivising the use of clean energy. We are also interested in creating a viable and competitive domestic production base. […] China has invested 10 times more than us in clean energy. We have to increase the percentage of clean energy and need to integrate all forms of clean energy."

Read Prime Minister Singh’s full speech.

Our related reports:

Leadership for a Clean Revolution

India's Clean Revolution

Image copyright (cc-by-sa) © World Economic Forum ( Eric Miller

By Clare Saxon

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