International Solar Alliance (ISA)

International Solar Alliance (ISA)

Introduction

  • It came into existence on 6th December 2017. 
  • ISA is the first treaty-based intergovernmental organization to be based out of India. 
  • It is a global initiative of India with an aim to create a sustainable world by making clean and affordable energy available to all. 
  • It comprises 19 members as of now. (Australia, Bangladesh, Comoros, Cuba, Fiji, France, Ghana, Guinea, India, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Nauru, Niger, Peru, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan and Tuvalu). 

Background

  • India is one of the fastest growing economy in the world. India, growing at such a rapid pace has a lot of energy demands. Without energy the growth is impossible, so India needs to meet these energy demands. 
  • In November 2015, in Paris, there was an UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) Climate Conference. 
  • India recently also pledged to reduce its carbon emissions to 30-35% by 2030. So to reduce the carbon load, alternative sources of energy should be focussed at. 
  • India’s Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, in his speech in November 2015, at Wembley Stadium, England, referred to sunshine countries as “Suryaputra” i.e. sons of the sun. 
  • The declaration made on the occasion was to launch the International Solar Alliance so that all the countries which are dedicated to promoting the solar energy, they sign an agreement on 30 November 2015. 
  • The Framework Agreement of ISA opened for signatures in November 2016, in Marrakech, Morocco. Until now 121 countries have joined it. 
  • ISA is an alliance of more than 121 countries most of them being sunshine countries (where the probability of sun being there is more. Sunshine countries are either completely or partially between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn). 
  • In January 2016, on the sidelines of COP-21 (Conference Of Parties) at the Paris Conference, Indian Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi and the then French President, Mr Francis Hollande jointly laid the foundation stone of the ISA headquarters in Gwalpahari, Gurugram, India. They also inaugurated the interim Secretariat of the ISA of the NISE (National Institute of Solar Energy) campus there. 

Primary Objective

  • To work for the efficient exploitation of solar energy. 
  • To reduce the dependence on fossil fuels. 
  • To ensure “access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”. 
  • A fraction of the sun’s energy is trapped. So if the sun’s energy is entirely trapped, no other source of energy would be required for years to come. Therefore the main focus is on the solar power utilization. 
  • Shared vision to bring clean, affordable and renewable energy within the reach of all. 
  • Promotion of solar technology so that the new companies, new business models, new investments, new jobs in the solar sector can come up. It will enhance the prosperity as well as the local people will benefit a lot. 
  • To formulate innovative and financial mechanisms, formulate projects and programmes to promote solar applications, to build common knowledge e-portals. 
  • To keep global temperature from rising above 2 degree Celsius by the end of this century. 
  • Facilitating capacitive building for promotion and absorption of solar technologies and R&D among member countries. 
  • Help in bending the global Greenhouse Gas emission curve which will provide clean and cheap energy. This would prevent climate change and global warming. 
  • Seeking views and ideas from the solar resource-rich countries whereas secure their approval on the proposed initiative. 
  • To upgrade technology, expand infrastructure for supplying sustainable energy services, to substantially increase the share of renewable energy and to enhance international cooperation by 2030. 

Contributions To ISA

  • It aims to mobilise more than $1000 billion in investments by 2030 for massive deployment of affordable solar energy. 
  • As per the agreement, India will contribute $27 million to the ISA corpus fund. It will be utilized for creating building infrastructure and recurring expenditure for a period of five years (2017 to 2021). 
  • India is taking a leadership role in solar energy promotion. 
  • IREDA (Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency), SECI (Solar Energy Corporation of India) and other public sector undertakings of the Indian Government have contributed $1 million each to the ISA corpus fund. 
  • India has ambitious targets of achieving renewable energy. It plans to generate 175 GW of renewable energy by 2022. 
  • The headquarters of ISA will be set up in India with an initial investment of $30 million. 
  • In the first phase, $400 million will be raised from the membership fees along with international agencies. 
  • India will decrease its carbon footprint by 30-35% by 2030. 
  • India will endorse and promote clean energy and sustainable environment. 
  • India has also launched a tool named IESS 2047. It is India Energy Security Scenario-2047 calculator. It aims to explore the potential of future energy scenarios for India. 

Working Mechanism

  • It is a multi-country partnership. 
  • It has membership from the solar resource-rich countries. 
  • The governance structure will have an Assembly, Council and Secretariat. The Assembly will provide guidance, direction and advice to the Secretariat for undertaking the activities and it will be in consultations with the member countries. 
  • The main objective is to reduce the overall cost of technology for solar generation. 
  • It should be adaptive to countries’ individual needs. 

Potential Outcomes

  • There will be an improvement in the quality of life in the rural and semi-urban areas which currently face problems of electricity. 
  • It will be helpful for the majority of the developing countries which are dealing with the similar issues. 
  • It will be beneficial for the farmers who cannot use technologies to improve their crop productivity. 
  • It will help in meeting problems like- 
  • a) Shortage of clean drinking water due to high cost of purification. 
  • b) Lack of modern healthcare facilities. 
  • c) Insufficient number of schools with light, fan problems. 
  • Therefore cooperating with each other will lead to solutions to these problems. Business scaling-up will take place and it would lead to lower costs of energy access. This would eventually lead to an improved life for the citizen in future through applications of solar technologies. 

UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change)

  • It is an international environment treaty. 
  • The main objective of UNFCCC is to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions thereby reducing the global warming. 
  • It is not a legally binding convention. It is only a voluntary convention and there is no enforcement mechanism put in place under the convention. 
  • It provides a framework for the member countries for negotiating Specific International Treaties (protocols) that may set binding limits on GHG emissions. 


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