India to double clean energy research investment to $145 bn

India is looking to double investment in clean energy research to $145 million in the near future from about $72 million at present, union minister for science and technology and earth sciences, Dr Harsh Vardhan said.

Speaking at the Seventh Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM7) and the Inaugural Mission Innovation meet at San Francisco on 1 and 2 June, he also made a formal announcement on new joint collaborations with Mission Innovation Countries.

The minister announced an expanded collaboration with the UK by setting up a joint virtual clean energy centre to address the challenges in solar energy and launching a new research track on smart energy grids and energy storage under the Indo-US Partnership to Advance Clean Energy Research (PACE-R).

India has been a member of CEM since its inception and has joined eight out of 13 CEM initiatives.

Dr Harsh Vardhan also launched the Global Cooling Challenge at CEM7. He noted that by accelerating the introduction of super-efficient air conditioners we can reduce the energy demand from 60 GW of energy to 40 GW, a saving of over 30 per cent. This translates to cost savings in consumer energy bills of $2.8 billion and GHG reductions of 20 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent.

Showcasing India's achievements in the field of clean energy, the minister informed the CEM members that India has successfully implemented the world's largest LED lighting programme. This programme has seen India lead the way by driving 12 per cent of global LED demand at present, up from 0.1 per cent a couple of years ago.

India is a founding member of the steering committee of the Mission Innovation and also a member of the two sub-groups - Joint Research and Capacity Building and Private Sector Engagement.

Department of Biotechnology under the Ministry of Science and Technology is coordinating the national efforts towards the mission.

Making the Mission Innovation announcement at the ministerial panel, Harsh Vardhan stated that the Mission Innovation (MI) is the noblest mission, which will help humanity in the future. It is an effort to accelerate public and private global clean energy innovation, pursuing the goals set during the COP21 in Paris.

In order to achieve this goal, all the MI partner countries have a shared desire to enhance the pace of innovation and scale of transformation through this clean energy revolution.

Member country representatives released their respective governments' plans to double clean energy research and development funding over the next five years.