The 100 GW target for solar electricity is a promise that India has been repeating at every climate change forum over the last couple of months. But there clearly seems to be a confusion over what the deadline for meeting this target should be — 2020 or 2022.
On Thursday, speaking at the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit, Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar said the target was “not for 2022” but “would be achieved by 2020 itself”.
“This is a pre-2020 action by India which was not mandated under the Kyoto regime,” he said, referring to the Kyoto Protocol which does not impose any emission-reduction action on India.
However, in all official documents, the government has kept 2022 as the deadline year.
To be sure, when the initial announcement about the 100 GW target had been made, in November last year, the year mentioned was 2020. But later, it was revised to 2022, which happens to be the last year of the 13th five-year plan and also the deadline year for the original 20,000 MW target under the National Solar Mission.
Accordingly, the pamphlets circulated at the climate change conference in Lima last year gave 2022 as the deadline. The Cabinet is yet to approve the new target for solar power generation but the note prepared for the Cabinet is also learnt to have 2022 as the deadline year.
Considering that just about 3 GW of solar capacity has been installed in the last four years that the National Solar Mission has been under operation, the 100 GW target is quite an ambitious target even for 2022, not to speak of 2020.
Apart from the solar target, the government has announced its intention to push other forms of renewable energy as well, notably wind energy through which about 60 GW of electricity is hoped to be generated by 2022.
While the government speaks in two voices, the international community is latching on to every promise that is being made. The French Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Laurent Fabius, who spoke immediately after Javadekar at the DSDS, acknowledged the ambition in India’s proposals, and talked about not just the solar target but also the intention to triple the nuclear energy production in the next ten years, a proposal that has become public only a few days ago.
“We all understand India’s constraints. At the same time, we have taken note of the ambition (of the action) which have already been proposed. 100 GW of solar energy before 2020, tripling of nuclear energy production before 2025, 100 smart cities, the very large programme on energy efficiency…these are all real promises,” he said.