Solar Energy – JNNSM, Solar Cities, Solar Pumps, etc.

[op-ed snap] India must lead the transition to green energy

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Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the ISA

Mains level: Importance of the ISA and related issues discussed in the article.


Why is International Solar Alliance (ISA) important for India?

  1. It is a a breakthrough in India’s global positioning
  2. With this ,India has suddenly became a catalyst in the global attempts at capping climate change
  3. This is important in a geopolitical sense when China is clearly expanding its global footprint

India’s commitment on solar energy

  1. India has a domestic commitment to generate 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar energy by 2022
    (part of the broader 175GW target for renewable energy)

But what is the main issue?

  1. India has to push towards mass prosperity at a time when climate change is a huge concern
  2. The context of what India will have to do in the next three decades is quite different from what developed countries or Asian success stories such as China faced
  3. Fighting climate change cannot come at the cost of halting the urgent fight against poverty
  4. Global initiatives should always be seen through the lens of national interest
  5. That is why an international alliance based on credible commitments is important
  6. The key issues that India raised at the Copenhagen climate change talks is still important
  7. The rich countries still need to be pushed to provide asymmetrical funding for climate change mitigation and technology transfers
  8. That will continue to be an important challenge for the global solar alliance

Solar Energy: An opportunity

  1. The shift to solar energy should not be seen only as a defence mechanism
  2. It can also be an opportunity
  3. Economic historians have identified five long waves of technology since the Industrial Revolution
  4. The chronological order of these technology waves is as follows—the steam engine and cotton ginning; steel and railways; electrical and chemical engineering; automobiles and plastics; and information technology
  5. The fight against climate change(and the broader move to low-carbon economies) is likely to create the next big technological wave

The way forward

  1. New technology will be the critical factor in the transition to a green economy which also grows rapidly, and India should take a shot at global leadership
  2. Coal will continue to be a key part of the Indian energy mix in the immediate future
  3. But the push for solar energy is welcome if a longer view is taken
  4. ISA thus offers many opportunities —from geopolitical advantages to economic benefits in the next wave of global innovation


International Solar Alliance

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