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International Solar Alliance meet to host Fortune 500 companies CEOs, award Solar Nobels

LiveMint logoLiveMint 09-08-2017 Utpal Bhaskar

New Delhi: With the national capital gearing up to host the first International Solar Alliance (ISA) assembly in December, an ambitious outreach programme is in the works which involves hosting Fortune 500 companies’ chief executive officers (CEOs) and starting a Solar Nobel prize. Also, the Indian imprint on the ISA will be visible with global awards to be announced in the names of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and astronaut Kalpana Chawla, according to Upendra Tripathy, interim director general of ISA.

In a first for India, the congregation of global Inc. who’s who is being planned in New Delhi to help create a $1,000 million corpus to help the alliance of 121 sunshine countries situated between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn meet their special energy needs.

This comes in the backdrop of India, the world’s third largest energy consumer after the US and China, announcing its intent to stay the course even as the US has announced its withdrawal from the Paris climate deal.

ISA, the first treaty-based international government organisation, which is headquartered in India, assembly will be attended by several heads of states, including French president Emmanuel Macron and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Now, again this (Fortune 500 companies conclave) is a unique part of ISA…They will suggest ideas and ways as to how solar can be promoted…We will invite all the fortune 500 companies and are planning a CEO’s conclave,” Tripathy said in an interview.

ISA plans to put in place a corporate partner scheme, wherein a corpus will be created. With contribution from member countries being voluntary, the idea is to attract 1,000 corporate partners who will contribute $1 million each. The interest earned on this $1,000 million corpus will help in ISA’s functioning.

With India taking a lead role in setting up the ISA, the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) and Solar Energy Corp. of India (SECI) have announced their $1 million each contribution to the corpus.

“The recurring expenditure on ISA will be met from voluntary contributions from member countries, bilateral and multilateral agencies; other appropriate institutions; and from interest earned from the augmented corpus to be built up,” India’s ministry of external affairs said in a 22 May statement.

Also, as part of its outreach, ISA plans to start awards on the lines of the Nobel Prize wherein an alliance country will be recognized and awarded for not only promoting solar but also having the potential and demonstrating efforts to achieve it.

“We will call them Solar Nobels,” said Tripathy. “We will get the approval from the steering committee which will be held in the first week of September.”

An Atal Solar Award is also likely to be announced at the assembly which will be administered by the ISA.

“We have requested Government of India if they can create a corpus for the award,” said Tripathy.

The idea of a solar alliance of countries that receive sunshine for around 300 days in a year was mooted by Modi. ISA was launched at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in November 2015 and has been ratified by France, Fiji, India, Mauritius, Nauru and Tuvalu.

Also, ISA has requested the Haryana government to create a Kalpana Chawla Solar Award for woman solar scientists. Chawla, one of the seven crew members who was killed in space shuttle ‘Columbia’ disaster in 2003, was the first Indian woman in space and was from Haryana.

These two proposals have not yet been decided and are at the discussion stage, said Tripathy.

Other prominent intergovernmental organisations in the energy sector include the Vienna-headquartered Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (Opec) and Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA).

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