Written by Arunesh Choubey
Recently, taking a hint from Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi’s comments at a conference, the Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy Minister of India Mr. Piyush Goyal committed to form a consortium of the world’s 50 solar rich nations. Some may think this plain hype but before they do, they should think about the ‘International Yoga Day’. Modi advocated the ‘International Yoga Day’ at the United Nations General Assembly and within a few months, the 21st of June was declared as ‘International Yoga Day’.
Setting apart, whether this consortium is formed or not, it is more important to analyse what such a consortium could achieve. A consortium of solar rich nations will bring together many diverse developing nations in Africa, Asia, South America and perhaps, the Middle East. 50 odd years ago, the then Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, led the formation of the Non Aligned Movement, signalling that member nations were not siding with either the United States or Soviet Union or any other power bloc. This day, Modi is encouraging another movement – a movement which will bring together nations whose balance sheets struggle under oil and gas prices. This also fits in with the mantra of development and the ‘politics of development’ that Modi advocates.
[L-R], Piyush Goya, Narendra Modi
Due to a multitude of issues, many developing or under-developed nations have high levels of poverty, which in some leads to the growth of terrorism, inter and intra clan wars and a downward spiral into anarchy affecting not only their population but neighbouring countries aswell. Cheap sources of energy will not only lend a boost to education, health and jobs but also a much faster pace of development leading to poverty elimination. This then will stabilise nations where the youth have nothing better to do than become mercenaries. Thus, Modi’s idea and Mr Goyal’s commitment may help nations in various other ways: combating terrorism in the longer term being one.
A consortium of solar rich nations with well-developed solar assets has the power to break the organised oligopoly of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, coal and nuclear technology exporters. Many in the Middle East realise this and in an effort to milk their oil reserves for a much longer term, they are harnessing the power of the sun to cater their internal demand for energy.
The consortium of ‘Solar Rich Nations’ can help pool together resources, both funds and people and result in investments to build solar parks and development of solar technology at a micro level. Research is another area where such a consortium can help. For small land locked countries that rely on oil imports, this can be a boon as they could enter into energy agreements with their bigger neighbours. Energy poverty elimination has the power to solve many critical issues for developing countries which would lead to a more balanced world order bridging the gap between rich and poor nations.
Whether, the league of solar rich nations takes off or not, it is certainly not sensible to ignore what the impact of such an organisation could be.