India’s incredible new goal is to generate 20,000 MW of solar power by 2022. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that he feels the project is doable, if ambitious, and should be worked on with national cooperation to make it a successful endeavor. Singh also said the the project, dubbed Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (under the brand name Solar India), has a proud place in India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change.
These are ambitious goals indeed and well worth the trouble, given the fact that India ranks among the world’s most egregious environmental offenders, right alongside China and the US. The prime minister also said that this project represents more than a shift away from fossil fuels and into the manufacturing and deployment of solar technologies. Ideally, India will create many “Solar Valleys” (similar to Silicon Valley) all across the country, since these IT industries are spurring economic growth in the region. Like all governmental support, the idea behind the move is to scale up the capacity and lower the costs, creating a more feasible energy source than traditional fossil fuels. Beyond the environmental aspect, this new endeavor is a good business opportunity for many in India, and Singh urges it to be seen as such.
How India’s goals play out in reality, however, may very well be different from the wonderful goals of the project. In fact, this may be much like the US plan for carbon neutrality, which is still as much talk as it is reality, due to the fact that it takes time to work out the details. But strides are strides nonetheless. With any luck, India’s (and other industrialized nations) plans to move toward a renewable energy source will become reality, and hopefully, it will happen sooner rather than later. It seems to me that the boom that occurs with industrial revolutions should be getting ready to pop as some of the world’s wealthiest investors start to add renewables to their portfolios.