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India has makings of becoming clean energy capital: Experts

Vikas Swarup, Indian diplomat and author

San Jose : India has the makings of becoming the clean energy capital of the world, participants of a high-level roundtable on renewable energy have said and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allow states and cities to take the lead in pollution free energy initiatives.

The roundtable was attended by Ernest Moniz, the US Energy Secretary, his predecessor Steven Chu, top energy sector CEOs and investors.

“Among the views expressed at the roundtable was the clear assumption that India has the makings of becoming the clean energy world capital,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesman Vikas Swarup told reporters after the roundtable.

Modi had a meeting Moniz, wherein they discussed the recently held India-US Energy Dialogue.

Participants said that clean and renewable energy would soon be an inexpensive energy option with the electricity storage becoming cheaper, Swarup said.

Participants were of the view that states and cities in India should be allowed to take the lead in clean energy initiatives, he added.

“A related thought was that the current grid is not designed to carry the load of 175 GigaWatts of renewable energy that India is targeting and therefore a complementary effort is required on the grid side,” he said.

Private investment was emphasised as being vital for clean energy initiatives.

Experts were of the view that India has to address these in four key areas, technology integration, finance, regulatory framework and right talent tool.

Participants expressed concern over the financial status of power distribution companies.

In addition to solar and wind energy, bio mass was also provided as a key source of clean energy.

In his remarks, Prime Minister reiterated his commitment to realise the vision of 175 GigaWatts of clean energy.

He said there is a massive scope for investment in the sector. The government is working to address the issue of rules and regulations.

Modi also gave an overview of initiatives already undertaken in the area of renewable energy, such as Kochi Airport becoming a solar-powered airport, and solar panels being installed over a canal in Gujarat.

He said that early next month, a district court in the tribal belt of Jharkhand will become entirely solar-powered.

The Prime Minister also mentioned coal gasification as an important area of research.

He expressed confidence of a renewable energy revolution over the next decade, Swarup said.

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