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Solar alliance a platform to promote solar energy: India

Paris: The International Solar Alliance mooted by India is a platform to encourage and promote solar energy and the expected participation of around 50 countries in its initial phase is “historic”, a senior minister said today.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande will jointly launch the International Solar Alliance (ISA) in the presence of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon tomorrow on the opening day of the crucial climate change summit here.

“It will be a platform for engagement, platform to encourage and promote solar energy and a platform to achieve the sustainable development goal of affordable energy access for all by 2030,” Power Minister Piyush Goyal said.

Goyal said with the ISA in the conceptual phase, around 50 countries are expected to attend the launch tomorrow.

“Right now its at a concept stage but over 50 countries are expected to be present at the launch tomorrow of which more than 30 countries will be represented by heads of states or government level. For an initial launch of a concept which has not even taken shape, it is historic to get this kind of response,” he said.

When asked if there will be pressure on India to push back on its coal consumption at the climate summit especially after US secretary of state John Kerry’s remark raising questions over India’s insistence to continue depending on coal for electricity generation, the Power Minister said no country is asking for a push back on coal and it remains “integral element of India’s development imperative”.

“The idea behind the International Solar Alliance is to engage with countries, benchmarking the best practises in the world, ensure access to technology and newer innovations and financing,” Goyal said.

He said there will be an international steering committee which will deliberate day after tomorrow on the contours and framework of this alliance.

“This committee will continue to work over the next few months and finalise the shape of the International Solar Alliance. There are around 15-16 countries which have expressed interest to part of the committee. Its a preliminary committee. Going forward, they will help to have some kind of structure. India has offered to host the first five years of the ISA and also fund all the administrative things,” Goyal said.

Asked if there was any targets set by the International Solar Alliance, he said it is a “concept and platform for engagement” and the alliance is not for putting any “onerous” conditions on any country including India and is like a industrial body.