Strengthening International Solar Alliance: France and India Join Forces for Sustainable Energy Future

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New Delhi, June 13, 2023 – A high-level delegation from France, led by Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, Minister of State for Development, Francophonie and International Partnerships, held a productive meeting with R. K. Singh, the Union Minister for Power and New & Renewable Energy of India. The discussions, which took place at Shram Shakti Bhawan, focused on strengthening collaboration to accelerate the global energy transition, particularly through the utilization of solar energy within the framework of the International Solar Alliance (ISA). Notably, India currently serves as the President of ISA, while France holds the position of Co-President.

One of the key points raised during the meeting was the urgent need to extend support to countries seeking green funds for renewable energy projects. Minister Singh emphasized that economically stronger nations would be able to generate funds internally, while economically weaker countries would require assistance. He stressed the importance of aiding such nations in need and proposed that the International Solar Alliance should undertake more solar energy initiatives, especially in Africa. The discussion highlighted the fact that nearly half of the African continent lacks access to electricity. Minister Singh emphasized that alongside the energy transition, ensuring energy access was equally crucial. Given the limited access to electricity in Africa, solar energy emerged as the most affordable and straightforward option for electrification.

During the meeting, Minister Singh expressed the necessity of establishing three key funds: insurance for renewable energy projects, a payment security mechanism, and arrangements for debt financing. He noted that these funds would grow over time through contributions and interest payments. Drawing from India’s own experience, he mentioned the establishment of a payment security mechanism that had attracted investments. Minister Singh proposed that the International Solar Alliance should create a de-risking mechanism and explore opportunities to access additional green funds, thus enabling the promotion of grid-scale solar energy projects across Africa.

The discussions also commended Kenya’s success in renewable energy and explored the possibility of organizing a conference in Kenya under the auspices of the International Solar Alliance.

Minister Singh apprised the visiting delegation of India’s commitment to energy transition and sustainability. He highlighted that despite India’s per capita emissions being only one third of the global average, the country was leading the way in rapid energy transition. Currently, 43% of India’s capacity is derived from non-fossil fuels, and the country has pledged to reduce its emission intensity by 45% by 2030. Minister Singh further underscored India’s potential as a world leader in green hydrogen and the country’s ambitious plans to rapidly expand its renewable energy capacity, which will contribute to reducing the overall cost of energy.