Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (D) Welcomes French President Emmanuel Macron for the Founding Summit of the International Solar Alliance in New Delhi, March 11, 2018
On the second day of his visit to New Delhi, French President Emmanuel Macron called for mobilization to help the poorest countries take better advantage of solar energy following the example of India.
Macron joined some 20 leaders from Asia, Africa and Oceania on Sunday to formally launch the International Solar Alliance (Asi), a coalition that emerged from COP21.
„We must remove all obstacles and change scale“ to develop solar energy, Macron said at the opening of the summit of the Asi, which he co-chairs with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
At the end of this meeting, the French president will offer, with his wife Brigitte, a trip to the Taj Mahal, a must for foreign dignitaries traveling in India.
Energy issues occupy an important place in this three-day visit as Emmanuel Macron and Narendra Modi will inaugurate Monday a 100 MW solar plant at Mirzapur, near Varanasi (Benares), built by the French group Engie.
On Saturday, the two leaders discussed the delicate project of building a nuclear power plant of six EPR-type reactors by the French group EDF in Jaitapur, on the south-west coast of India. The French delegation welcomed a „major breakthrough“ in this issue, which has been under discussion for a decade, and hopes that work will begin at the end of 2018 for this „largest nuclear power station in the world“.
– ‚Concrete results‘ –
By launching the Solar Alliance, Paris and New Delhi are at the forefront of the fight against global warming, especially after the announcement of the US withdrawal of Donald Trump from the 2015 Paris agreement.
„With Mr. Modi, we are obsessed with concrete results,“ said Macron, citing the Indian Gandhi for whom „an ounce of practice is better than a ton of speech.“
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (center D) and French President Emmanuel Macron (center G) surrounded by other leaders from Asia, Africa or Oceania to launch the International Solar Alliance, in New Delhi on 11 March 2018
Asi wants to offer the „ecosystem“ of technology solutions, financial resources and mass production capabilities for the 121 countries located between the Tropics of Cancer, Modi said.
Because these countries present „the paradox of being the sunniest in the world while enjoying the least solar energy“, according to the former French Minister of Ecology Ségolène Royal, present in India as special envoy for the implementation implementation of the Asi.
The goal of the Asi is to mobilize 1,000 billion dollars to develop 1 TW of solar energy in 2030.
The French effort will amount to one billion euros of loans and donations by 2022, said Macron.
„The challenge of this commitment is to go much faster using public money to unlock the investments of private companies,“ said Rémy Rioux, director general of the French Development Agency (AFD).
– Indian example –
India is presented as an example to follow because this country, third polluter of the planet, wants to multiply its solar production by 25 in seven years, to bring it to 100 gigawatts (GW) in 2022.
In India and in several African countries such as Côte d’Ivoire, one of the actors of this change is the Solar Mamas project, which trains illiterate grandmothers to install solar panels, with the mission of electrify at least 50 houses each in their village.
Solar Mamas focuses on grandmothers because „we are sure that they will not go to town as soon as their training is over, but to return to their village and improve the lives of their families,“ says a trainer.
„It is by lighting the villages that we will create jobs for young people who have only one way, immigration,“ said Mahamadou Issoufou, Niger’s president, in New Delhi. electrification is only 12% „.
After the summit of the Asi and a meeting with the French expatriate community, the Macron couple will join the Taj Mahal Agra, 170 kilometers south of the Indian capital.
Photograph provided by the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on March 11, 2018 showing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (D) and French President Emmanuel Macron (C) at the launch of the International Solar Alliance in New Delhi
The photos of foreign leaders in front of the 17th-century white marble mausoleum are a must-see for official trips to India.
The Taj Mahal has suffered in recent months the wrath of a fringe Hindu nationalists, who deny this construction of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan for his wife died in childbirth. A controversy that is part of a questioning more general these days in India of the country’s Muslim heritage.