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Varanasi, Munich in race to be world’s first clean energy city

LiveMint logoLiveMint 02-06-2017 Gireesh Chandra Prasad

New Delhi: India aims to make Varanasi the first fully renewable energy powered city in the world, ahead of the German city of Munich, which is working towards reaching the goal by 2025.

Piyush Goyal, minister for power, mines, coal and new and renewable energy, has instructed officials to start building the required infrastructure for the project, including the power storage and distribution network, an official statement said.

Goyal is back from a four-day visit to the German cities of Berlin, Leipzig and Munich that ended on 1 June.

Goyal decided to make Varanasi, the parliamentary constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, fully reliant on clean energy before Munich reaches its goal, said the statement.

“In this way, the world’s oldest city can also become the first major city to be powered fully by clean energy,” it said.

The project reinforces India’s clean-energy ambitions and sends a strong signal to the rest of the world about its commitment to climate-change goals.

The announcement comes in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate change deal, which was agreed to by more than 190 nations, on grounds that it unfairly benefits countries like India and China.

Goyal has earlier said that India would stick to its goal of installing 175 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy by 2022. At the moment, the country has 12GW of solar power, over 32GW of wind power, 4.4GW of small hydropower and 8GW of bio-power generation capacity.

Goyal met Christoph Beier, vice chairman of German development agency GIZ (German Federal Enterprise for International Cooperation), and proposed a partnership with India’s Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) .

The minister also explored the availability of long-term funding and partnerships in grid balancing and electric vehicle development.

Goyal met businesses keen to set up manufacturing units in India and explored the availability of funding from Germany’s KfW Development Bank for developing the rooftop solar power sector in India.

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