India to double renewable energy capacity by 2017: PM

New Delhi, April 17 (IANS) India recognises the importance of evolving a low carbon strategy for inclusive and sustainable growth and will double renewable energy capacity by 2017, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Wednesday.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Fourth Clean Energy Ministerial here, the prime minister said greater use of clean energy contributes to sustainability of the development process. This issue, he added, will become more important in the years that lie ahead.

“We are also taking steps to exploit non-conventional clean energy sources such as solar and wind power, and also energy from the bio mass. It is proposed to double the renewable energy capacity in our country from 25,000 MW in 2012 to 55,000 MW by the year 2017,” he said.

The prime minister said the pace at which the country can expand its reliance on these new energy sources is constrained by the fact that they are more expensive than conventional energy but costs are expected to fall.

“The cost of solar energy for example has nearly halved over the last two years, though it remains higher than the cost of fossil fuel based electricity. If the cost imposed by carbon emissions is taken into account, then solar energy is more cost effective, but it is still more expensive,” he said.

Counting on the probability of falling costs in this area, Manmohan Singh said: “We have launched a Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission with the objective of developing 22,000 MW of solar capacity by the year 2022 covering both solar photovoltaic and solar thermal.”

“The cost differential is being covered by different forms of subsidy and cross subsidy. A solar capacity of about 1,500 MW has already been installed in the country, and an additional 10,000 MW will be implemented by the end of the 12th Five Year Plan, ending in 2017,” he said.

The prime minister said his government was keen to ensure induction of the best technology and also encourage domestic production of the equipment needed.

“India is potentially a large market for production of such equipment. It is also a potentially competitive and attractive production base for supplying other countries. We therefore strongly encourage global manufacturers to set up production facilities in this area,” he said.

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