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Clean Energy Ministerial begins today; India not to join initiative on women

According to reports, the 23-member Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM4) that begins tomorrow will see India joining the electric vehicle initiative of the grouping. But despite a political overdrive on women related issues, India is going to stick to its stand of not joining the Women in Clean Energy Initiative called C3E.

The fourth ministerial will, however, take off on Tuesday with a session on C3E addressed by Elizabeth Dipuo Peters, energy minister of South Africa and Farooq Abdullah, Indian minister for new and renewable energy. Australia, Denmark, Mexico, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States are participants in C3E initiative that was launched by 30 women, three energy ministers, and eight governments at the first Clean Energy Ministerial in the US to advance women’s participation in the clean energy revolution.

The initiative focuses on energy education and empowerment (C3E) but programmes under it do not directly benefit rural women for whom procurement of fuel is difficult. “We feel that C3E in the current form does not cover women beneficiaries of clean energy but is more focused on women professionals,” said AK Jain, advisor, Planning Commission.

An initiative of the United States running parallel to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), CEM works on a 13 action-driven clean energy initiatives. India is signatory to seven of these. It joined the one on electric vehicles, called EVI, last month. China has so far joined four initiatives but is neither a signatory to the one on women nor on the electric vehicles.

EVI aims to facilitate the global deployment of 20 million EVs, including plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and fuel cell vehicles, by 2020. Under it, development of national deployment targets is encouraged and launching pilot cities to promote EV demonstrations and share experiences besides sharing information on public investment in research, development, and demonstration. It also includes programmes to ensure that the most crucial global gaps in vehicle technology development are being addressed.

India has been moving ahead on the electric vehicle with Mahindras last month launching E2O to replace its earlier Reva car. There are more than half a dozen electric two wheeler model being already sold in the country.

The three-day event will have ministers in close door discussions on clean energy supply and energy efficiency. Besides, there will be a roundtable on public-private partnerships in bringing down costs of solar PV, acceleration of global adoption of clean vehicles and evolution of power market in emerging economies. “The focus of the ministerial is largely technology and business,” explained Jain.

He said out of the 13 initiatives four focused on energy supply and three on energy efficiency. Besides, there are six initiatives on crosscutting programmes which includes C3E and 21st Century Power Partnership, which aims to enhance large-scale deployment of energy efficiency and variable renewable energy through smart policies and programs that leverage smart grid solutions and clean energy technologies. With the states implementing renewable energy purchase obligations for purchase of power by distribution companies, India has been trying to mainstream the availability of renewable energy in the grid, Jain added.

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