India Praised for Renewable Energy Development Efforts

This was the observation made by Francesco La Camera, Director General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) while speaking at the Asia Clean Energy Summit hosted at Singapore

November 01, 2019. By Huned

The political will of India in terms of developing renewable energy continues to be strong. This was the view expressed by Francesco La Camera, Director General of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) on October 30, 2019 while speaking at the Asia Clean Energy Summit hosted at Singapore. His remark came in the wake of releasing a report titled ‘A Climate-Safe and Sustainable Energy System’. Francesco La Camera took office on April 4, 2019 and brings more than 30 years of experience in the fields of climate, sustainability and international cooperation. He formerly served as Director-General of Sustainable Development, Environmental Damage, EU and International Affairs at the Italian Ministry of Environment, Land and Sea since 2014.

In this capacity, he developed cooperation and partnerships agreements with a wide range of countries, particularly developing countries including Small Island Developing States (SIDS). As the national coordinator for climate, environment, resource efficiency and circular economy, he led the Italian delegation to UNFCCC’s COPs 21 to 24 and the EU delegation to COP 20. He was responsible for the organisation of Italy’s G7 Environment Presidency in 2017. He also led the Italian delegation to the G7 Environment meetings in 2016 and 2018.

Camera’s opinion was particularly noteworthy in view of the several challenges that India has been facing by way of land regulations. In that respect, he said that it is important to highlight the Indian government’s commitment to achieve its renewable energy targets as part of its stronger efforts to manage climate change. Speaking on the challenges in developing renewable energy, Camera said, “Naturally, in India it is not simple reality. You have some problems with the regulations of land and the rights of the people and many others.” Camera also expressed satisfaction with the cost of renewables coming down.

It may be recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced at the September United Nations Climate Action Summit that India is increasing its renewable energy target to 450 gigawatts as a part of a stronger climate action plan, up from its present target of 175 GW by 2022. The USD cost of solar PV in India has come down by 79% per kilowatt hour and 24% for onshore wind in 2018 from 2010, according to the IRENA report. Likewise, the onshore wind and solar PV cost in China was also down by 32% and 77% in 2018 from 2010 and down by 9% and 71% for onshore wind and solar PV in other parts of Asia.

Overall, the renewable energy will need USD 110 trillion by 2050 or equivalent to around 2% of the global GDP per year over the period, up from the current plans of USD 95 trillion. The USD 110 trillion will cover shift in investments toward renewables, energy efficiency, electrification of heat and transport applications and enabling grid infrastructure, according to the report. Camera said IRENA was urging member countries to promote cross-border connection of renewable energy.

One of the important sessions at the summit was ‘Opportunities and Challenges in Clean Energy Transition’. Southeast Asian countries are beginning to transform the way energy is produced and consumed in order to transition to a low-carbon, sustainable economy. But the journey has been a bumpy one and the region has overall been slower to adopt clean and low-carbon technologies largely due to an ongoing dependency on coal. Despite similar challenges of policies and finance some markets are deploying clean energy in a fast and systematic fashion while some are not. The panel of speakers shared their experiences and case-studies of what is working and how can it be scaled across geographies.

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