121 countries jointly invest in solar energy technologies


India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced today that 121 world's warmest countries have been banded together to invest into solar energy technologies and use the power to bring the electricity to one billion people, who are living without any kind of electricity today.

The banding together, which was detailed at the UN Climate Change Conference, was announced alongside with reports of a new multi-billion-dollar African alliance to fund clean energy access around the continent. The conference itself, which is currently underway in Paris, started on 3November 30 and lasts until December 11.

Announcement came just days after Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and other powerful investors pledged billions to invest into advancement of renewable energy, therefore making clear statement that fossil fuels are out and renewable energy is in.

"Solar technology is evolving, costs are coming down and grid connectivity is improving," said Narendra Modi. "The dream of universal access to clean energy is becoming more real. This will be the foundation of the economy of the new century."

Indian government needs to spend 30 million USD to establish the newly-created alliance's headquarters in India, which will focus on raising another 400 million USD to increase the efficiency of renewable energy. India has also promised to generate 40 percent of their electricity using renewable sources by 2030. "The idea is that larger markets and bigger volumes will lead to lower costs, making it possible to spur demand," said India's senior negotiator, Ajay Mathur.

Although it may sound great, the announcement has already received considerable amount of criticism, particularly the fact, or rather prediction that India is expected to have population of 1.45 billion by 2030. By that estimation, India will be then the most populous country on the planet. Climate Action Tracker (CAT) said that India's pledge is "at the least ambitious end of what would be fair contribution", while other have been praising Modi to take decisive action towards renewable sources.

Meanwhile, the African Union, which is an alliance of 54 countries, has launched the African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI), which has pledged to put 20 billion USD to develop at least 10 gigawatts of renewable energy over the next 10 years. Part of the funds will be drawn from rich countries pledging of 100 billion USD, which was made in June during G-7 conference and other institutions, like African Development Bank.

"The African Development Bank turned its focus to energy this year, seeking to bring electricity within a decade to the 620 million citizens on the continent who lack it," reported Anna Hirtenstein for Bloomberg Business. "The institution funds both conventional and renewable power plants and said it will triple its financing of climate action projects to 5 billion USD annually by 2020."

AREI will likely focus on geothermal projects in Rift Valley, which is situated mostly in East Africa, wind power facilities in North Africa and hydropower across the continent. "We have the potential to deploy 11 terawatts of solar energy, 350 gigawatts of hydro, 110 gigawatts of wind and 15 gigawatts of geothermal," said Akinwumi Adesina, the president of African Development Bank, in October.

Dubai also used it's change to announce their new, 27 billion USD project, which targets to equip every rooftop with solar panels by 2030 and pledged to produce 75 percent renewables by 2050.

Featured image: Solucar PS10 – the first solar thermal power plant based on tower in the world that generate electricity in a commercial way. Credit: afloresm (CC – Flickr)


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