New Delhi: Five Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) under the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas will be joining International Solar Alliance (ISA)'s Coalition for Sustainable Climate Action (ISA-CSCA) as corporate partners. In his inaugural speech at the first 'World Solar Technology Summit' organised by the ISA, Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan said that ONGC, IOCL, BPCL, HPCL and GAIL (India) Limited will be contributing to ISA's corpus fund.
Pradhan said that increasingly and rightly so, India's oil and gas companies are actively taking part in this clean energy transition. "In order to reduce carbon footprint, these companies will be focusing more on green energy investments such as renewables, biofuels and hydrogen going forward. We are also actively encouraging industry in general, and oil and gas companies in particular, to become participants to this solar transition," he added.
On the achievements made in the sector so far, Pradhan said that our oil and gas companies are also making efforts to deploy solar panels across the value chain of their operations, and the current installed solar power capacity is 270 MW. "Additional 60 MW solar capacity will be added in the coming year. We have taken up the mission of solarising about 50 percent of fuel stations owned by public sector oil companies in the next five years. More than 5,000 fuel stations of Indian Oil, the largest Public Sector oil marketing company, were solarised last year. A substantial amount of solar PV capacity was also added by oil and gas companies during the last few years."
The minister said that oil and gas PSUs are increasingly evaluating new opportunities in the solar and renewable energy space for diversification.
Recently, French major Total has also announced its intention to buy about 2 GW operating PV plants in India. "Despite the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, we are in the process of overhauling India's supply chains and reduce overdependence on imports for solar modules. Under the 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan' announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, our country has received proposals from various players for over 10 GW of fresh solar equipment manufacturing. In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's call to action for developing low-cost indoor solar cooking solutions, our company IOCL has tied up with M/s Sun Bucket System, a US-based start-up working in the niche area of solar energy-based products. We are encouraging Indian oil and gas companies to develop such innovative and scalable tie-ups in the solar sector, which have the potential to make a nationwide impact", he added.
Lauding the role of the ISA for making rapid strides since its launch at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris on November 30, 2015, Pradhan said that as the latest inter-governmental international organisation with its headquarters in India, ISA is not only a testament to India's unwavering faith in multilateralism but also a commitment to a better, sustainable and greener future. He said that the alliance reflects the vision and the firm belief that the beneficence of the sun could be used to bring together the peoples of this planet for a shared solution to our energy needs.
Pradhan said that there has always been a vision to make solar energy accessible and affordable for the poor by addressing the various financial and technological factors that currently impede such access. "The platform provided by ISA perfectly fits and matches the growing energy needs of countries across the globe. The oil and gas companies in India will work closely with ISA to explore opportunities for the implementation of solar-based projects within India as well as in other countries, particularly other developing countries where ISA is focused on faster development of solar energy infrastructure," Pradhan said.
Expressing confidence that the larger energy partnership of the Indian oil and gas industry will pave the way for a new era of solar development not only within India but also outside, Pradhan said that the key to this transformation and transition lies in advances in solar technologies and their deployment at affordable prices globally. He said that with a clear vision and augmentation of sufficient resources, there is a need for collective efforts at all levels — governments, industry leaders, innovators and academia and technology developers — to ensure that the benefits of the solar revolution become accessible to all countries across the globe.
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