For a tropical country that gets bright sunshine for about nine months a year, India is probably underutilising its solar energy potential. Sixty Indian cities could be wholly solar powered by 2020 if India is able to generate 20,000 mw of solar energy by then, according to a US energy department official who is part of a joint task force with India.
Speaking in Panaji at the launch of a joint training programme on 'Energy efficient and green cities' on Monday, Mark Ginberg, senior executive advisor to the assistant secretary of the office of energy efficiency and renewable energy, US Department of Energy, said that ''Twenty cities in India have already been lined up for this programme, and they will be partnered with cities in the US for moving towards this objective."
The initiative has been organised by the New Delhi-headquartered All India Institute of Local Government and the renewable energy arm of the US government. Present at the conference were mayors and civic officials from 30 cities in India and abroad.
The initiative aims to train Indian experts, universities, local self governments and civic bodies on how cities could move to solar energy. For this, various Indian cities will be 'twinned' with cities in the US to share knowledge and experiences.
Under an initial list of Indo-US partner cities, Ahmedabad has been tied with Atlanta and Columbus; Bangalore with San Francisco; Chennai with Denver; Delhi with Chicago; Mumbai with Los Angeles; Surat with Philadelphia; and Vadodara with Edison, New Jersey, which has a large Gujarati community. Bhubaneshwar, the capital of Orissa, is also in the list of proposed green cities, but it is yet to be paired with any American 'twin' city.
''There is lot of learning happening between the cities in America and India. The aim is to have more and more green buildings and energy conservation initiatives in these cities," said Ginsberg.