India to Host International Centre on Energy Access: Dr Abdullah
India today offered to set up an international centre on energy access to boost the provision of energy to remote and inaccessible areas. The offer was made by Dr. Farooq Abdullah, Minister for New and Renewable Energy. Dr Abdullah was speaking at the inaugural session of the assembly of the International Renewable Energy agency-IRENA currently being held at Abu Dhabi, UAE, IRENA. The world’s first intergovernmental agency on renewable agency was established in 2009 with the main objective of fostering international cooperation and promoting international understanding on renewable energy. India has been associated with the formation of IRENA from the beginning and was among the first 25 countries to ratify its statute. Making a strong pitch for the use of renewable energy, Dr Abdullah emphasized that renewable energy is the only hope for the future. However, in order to make it the preferred energy worldwide and to scale up the use of renewable energy in the energy mix, the nations of the world need to cooperate more and share information, technology and best practices. This will be necessary to bring energy access to vast areas of the world which have yet to experience the fruits of commercial energy. He spoke of India’s large size, considerable experience and a vast pool of technically qualified personnel and offered India’s expertise in building and hosting, in cooperation with IRENA, a Centre of Energy Access in India. This centre will serve as Centre of Excellence in the field of energy access through the use of renewable energy. He also offered to host an international conference on energy access later this year to bring this idea to fruition. He also announced the scaling up of India’s international programme on capacity building and to share expertise and best practices with developing countries.
India today stands among the top five countries of the world in terms of renewable energy capacity with an installed base of over 19000 MW of grid interactive renewable power which is around 11% of our total installed capacity. In addition, it adds about 2500 MW of renewable power annually. Its renewable energy programme is one of the largest and most ambitious in the world. Besides being one of the very few countries with a full-fledged ministry devoted exclusively to renewable energy, its emphasis on creating new generation capacity using all possible sources of renewable energy and the latest technologies has been considerably successful in recent years. On the solar front, it has recently launched the ambitious and game changing National solar Mission with a target capacity of 20 GW by 2022. With over 400 million citizens who lack access to modern forms of energy, it also has one of the largest decentralized off-grid renewable energy programmes. India is also one of the largest players in providing energy access to remote and disadvantaged people and remote locations. Even today, it has over 1.5 million decentralized solar applications, over 4 million biogas plants and over 5 millions sq m of solar thermal applications installed in some of the farthest and remotest areas of the country.