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Wednesday, December 01, 2021

COP26: US joins India-led global solar alliance

Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the development as “wonderful news”. “This will further strengthen the alliance in our shared quest for harnessing solar energy for a sustainable planet,” he said in a tweet.

Written by Amitabh Sinha | Glasgow |
November 11, 2021 4:00:04 am
Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav and US Special Envoy John Kerry. (Source:Twitter/@MEAIndia)

The United States on Wednesday joined the International Solar Alliance, becoming the 101st member of the India-led initiative that seeks to make solar energy accessible and affordable to all.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the development as “wonderful news”. “This will further strengthen the alliance in our shared quest for harnessing solar energy for a sustainable planet,” he said in a tweet.

US Special Presidential Envoy on Climate John Kerry submitted the joining document at the India delegation office in Glasgow on Wednesday afternoon. “It has long been coming, and we are happy to join the International Solar Alliance, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the lead in making. We worked out the details and this is a process we are pleased to be part of,” Kerry said.

ISA director general Ajay Mathur said, “The US’s endorsement of ISA’s framework and approach is a heartening development, especially as our 101st member nation which is a significant milestone in itself, demonstrating that nations across the world are recognizing the economic and climate-mitigating value of solar as well as this energy source’s potential as a catalyst for global energy transition.”

ISA is now officially an inter-governmental treaty-based international organisation. Headquartered in New Delhi, it seeks to accelerate the adoption of solar energy by making it accessible and affordable, which it hopes to achieve by aggregating the demand from all member countries, standardisation of equipment and technology, and promoting research and development.

The association of the United States with ISA can accelerate this process, ISA’s founding director general emeritus Upendra Tripathy said.

“US joining the ISA will greatly motivate many other countries also to join. It will ensure ISA’s financial sustainability and enhance its global climate change role. This is also the coming together of two great democracies of the world in a win-win collaboration to fight climate change and promote climate justice,” Tripathy said.

When the ISA was launched in 2015 during the climate change conference in Paris, the US had been listed as a potential member, with then President Barack Obama expressing his country’s desire to join the alliance when the membership was to open the next year. However, the Donald Trump administration had put those plans on hold.

After the Joe Biden administration took over this year, the US was widely anticipated to join the alliance.

ISA has so far facilitated the installation of 5 GW worth of solar projects in member countries. It has also launched the ‘One Sun One World One Grid’ (OSOWOG) initiative — an ambitious programme to create a connected solar grid at a global level so that the power supply is insulated against diurnal, seasonal and weather-related fluctuations that is inherent in solar electricity generation.

Even before it became a member of ISA, the US had joined the steering committee of OSOWOG just before its launch at the Glasgow edition of COP26.

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