India to pledge giant solar expansion at COP20 in Lima

Reading time: 4 minutes
5 December 2014

NEW DELHI: At the ongoing global climate talks, India – the third biggest CO2 emitter in the world – is expected to pledge to boost its solar power capacity five-fold to 100 gigawatts by 2030.

The solar expansion will allow India Prime Minister Modi to express the government’s genuine ambition to tackle climate change, as world leaders meet in COP20 in Lima, Peru this week, to discuss their commitments toward a global climate deal.

According to Indian media, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy is planning to bolster the country’s solar energy share from 6% to 15%.

In a bid to prepare for the solar growth, Renewable Energy Minister, Piyush Goyal is urging the finance industry to support tariffs for solar power. Indian newspaper Economic Times reported that the Minister told bankers: "A more realistic interest rate with staggered repayment could perhaps be the answer to solar energy expansion."

National climate plan

The solar focus is part of the government's plan to revamp its National Action Plan on Climate Change to deal with climate impacts head-on, specifically through three separate missions: Green India Mission, the Solar Mission and Enhanced Efficiency. In particular, the country's unique ‘trading in energy efficiency scheme’ will be developed by introducing new sectors. 

Further showing India’s commitment to addressing climate issues, the Indian Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has recently held a series of consultations with members of the newly restructured Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change.

The team are currently evaluating India’s goal of cutting its emissions intensity by up to 25%. The Expert Group on Low Carbon Economy appointed by the Planning Commission of India has also helped produce a report on India’s progress in meeting this emissions reduction target.

India's emission targets

The recent US-China climate agreement has put India under mounting pressure to announce an absolute emissions target. However, New Delhi remains firm on its long-held stance of CBDR (common but differentiated responsibilities), which leaves industrialized nations with a greater responsibility to reduce emissions than developing countries.

Effectively, it means that no major breakthrough regarding the declaration of a clear emission reduction target is expected to come from India during the COP20 Lima talks.

Commenting on India's position at Lima, Krishnan Pallassana, India Director, The Climate Group, maintains positive that the Modi government is walking the talk toward leading on climate action and a low carbon economy. He says: “There are certain positive and credible measures that are being taken by the Modi government. In the past few months, we have seen a high panel appointed to advise on integrated power sector reform; three top think tanks in India have been commissioned by the government to analyze GHG emissions trajectories – the outcome of which will inform key decisions – as well as the much-awaited renewable energy act in early 2015."

India plans to formally declare its ‘Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC)’ to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in March 2015.

Want to read more about COP? Over the next two weeks we are releasing pre and post-COP briefings as well as producing COP20 coverage in our news and blogs and on Twitter. Our States & Regions events in Lima can be tracked on hashtag #statesandregions.

And in case you missed it, here's our CEO Mark Kenber's op-ed "If we fail in Lima, we will fail in Parisand our infographic showing the history of the COP negotiations.


By Shuvait Koul

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