Image of the Taj Mahal, along with trees growing from coins and waves of energy

India pledges $4.3bn for clean energy projects

Image credit: Photos by Dreamstime and Canva (editing by Beatriz Valero)

Indian finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman has revealed the country will invest 350bn rupees (£3.5bn) in several new clean energy initiatives.

India has stated that "green growth" is a top priority for the country, as it earmarks 350 billion rupees ($4.3bn, £3.5bn) to invest in the nation’s energy security and green transition. 

In the announcement, Indian authorities included a focus on solar power from the Himalayan region of Ladakh and green hydrogen production.

“We are implementing many programmes for green fuel, green energy, green farming, green mobility, green buildings, and green equipment, and policies for efficient use of energy,” said finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her speech to Parliament. 

“These green growth efforts help in reducing carbon intensity of the economy and provide for large-scale green job opportunities,” she added.

The minister said the cash injection will be channelled through the ministry of petroleum and natural gas to help India reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2070.

The new funds form part of the government's $550bn (£447bn) budget aimed at promoting green industries and creating jobs ahead of the general election next year.

In her speech, Sitharaman also proposed government incentives for more reliable energy storage systems and announced a new framework for pumped storage systems for hydropower.

As part of this effort, the government pledged to invest 83 billion rupees (£819m) in electricity transmission lines which can take 13 gigawatts (GW) of renewable electricity from the sunny, sparsely populated Himalayan mountain state of Ladakh to population centres in the rest of the country.

Some of the other projects that will receive funding include programmes to incentivise the use of alternative, less-polluting fertilisers, but details of how much will be spent were unclear.

The Indian government revealed it would also be removing import taxes for components required to produce lithium-ion batteries – required for the manufacturing of electric vehicles (EV). At the same time, the government increased the custom duty on fully imported EVs from 60 per cent to 70 per cent.

The financial pledge follows last month's announcement that the country was going to invest 174.9 billion rupees (£1.78bn) to support the production, use and export of green hydrogen, with a view to becoming a major exporter of the element.

Sitharaman called green hydrogen a “sunrise sector” and said she wants India to “assume technology and market leadership” and reduce dependence on fossil fuel imports.

All of these proposals have yet to obtain the approval of both Houses of Parliament before they can be enacted. 

India is currently the world's third highest-emitting nation, but it has recently been striving towards decarbonising its economy. The country has set itself a goal to develop 500GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030.

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