Solar Alliance could outshine Opec : PM

Pitching for clean sources of energy by reducing use of polluting fossil fuels, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the International Solar Alliance (group of solar resource rich nations) could replace Opec in the future as the principal supplier of energy.

“ISA will have same role in future what is being currently played by Opec. The role being played by oil wells now will be played by rays of sun in future,” Modi said, referring to the cartel of 15 nations, which currently meets about half of the world’s energy needs. He was inaugurating the first Assembly of the International Solar Alliance launched as a joint initiative of India and France in Paris in November 2015.

Incidentally,10 of the 15 Opec countries are in the list of ISA potential members and include the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Libya, Nigeria and Algeria among others. India also proposed that ISA membership be thrown open to all UN members apart from the 121 who are fully or partially between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn as envisaged by the ISA when it was formed.

The ISA, an organisation based on an inter-governmental treaty, was formed by solar resource-rich nations to undertake joint efforts to reduce cost of finance and technology, and mobilise more than $1 trillion investment needed by 2030 for deployment of minimum 1,000 gw of solar energy across the globe.

India’s proposal to expand membership will be welcomed by many nations, and Pakistan could also potentially come within the ISA. The proposal is, in fact, in sync with what Modi envisioned when he gave the call of ‘One World, One Sun, One Grid’ while addressing representatives of 40 countries during the ISA Assembly in the presence of UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres and French minister of state for ecological and inclusive transition Brune Poirson.

Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj told the gathering about the move to expand ISA membership to all UN member countries. She said 70 countries had signed the framework agreement on the alliance and of these, 44 had ratified it.

The first Assembly of the ISA will lay the foundation for a global solar agenda. The Assembly, as the supreme decision making body of the ISA, will steer the process to significantly harness solar energy for achieving universal energy access at affordable rates.

The occasion also saw inauguration of the Indian Ocean Rim Association renewable energy ministerial meeting and the second Global Renewable Energy Investment (Reinvest) summit.

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