International Solar Alliance plans bank to fund energy access

Priority focus 1.2 billion with no access; next step: 2.4 billion without  access to clean sources

By Kundan Pandey
Published: Monday 21 January 2019
Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images Photo: Getty Images

The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is going to propose a new bank exclusively for financing energy access to billions, its director Upendra Tripathy said at the inaugural session of an event organised by New Delhi-based non-profit Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on the state of renewable energy.

The bank is still at the ideation stage. ISA has asked the Asian Development Bank to prepare a concept note. “We are planning to take it to the next assembly, scheduled in September-October,” he added.

A public-private partnership is being thought of for the proposed, which will work for 1.2 billion people who lack access to energy as well as the 2.4 billion who lack access to clean energy.

According to a recent World Bank report, 600 million people would continue to have no access to energy even in 2040, Tripathy said citing a potential market: Those using kerosene and other fuels that are costlier than renewable options. The bank would need to prioritise these groups and develop a mechanism, he added.

Existing banks do not focus on universal energy access—those still deprived are the poorest of the poor;, thus out of the ambit of these banks, the ISA chef said, adding: “We need special finance mechanism which can target these people.”

The bank should first target energy access and then focus on clean energy.

Flagging off the event, CSE Director General Sunita Narain listed a few challenges, including women still lacking clean fuel for cooking and its scale, air pollution and climate change. Renewable energy is not just another infrastructural challenge, she said, rather this sector is important to achieve the challenges of modern era and the challenges mentioned above.

The occasion marked the launch of the book State of Renewable Energy in India-2019, the details of whch were presented by Priyavrat Bhati, advisor, Energy group, CSE.

Renewable energy got a boost in 2015 when India decided to install 175 gigawatt capacity of such energy by 2022, he said, but the momentum seems to have slowed down in the last year. Structural issues in the electricity market and policy weaknesses can seriously impact long-term prospects, he added.

Referring to the book, he said the argument of the report is that the renewable sector will continue to grow, even with hurdles but with the right set of policies, the country can do much better.

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