Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has set a very ambitious target for India to reduce its carbon intensity, is committed to moving the country to a lower carbon renewable energy future, World bank President Jim Yong Kim has said. “I am very optimistic about what could happen with renewable energy (in India). The other thing that’s so important is Prime Minister Modi is very personal, very public and very strong support of moving India to a lower carbon renewable energy future,” Kim told reporters in a conference call ahead of the One Planet Summit in France tomorrow. In an interaction with reporters on bank’s continuing work on climate change mitigation and its efforts at helping developing countries implement the Paris Agreement, Kim said he and the World Bank has worked very closely with Modi. “Among one of the major projects that we’re putting on the table at the summit is a ultra-mega project in India for solar,” he said yesterday in response to a question. “Prime Minister Modi has made a very ambitious target for India to reduce its carbon intensity. Especially in the areas of solar and hydro, India is really leading. The Solar Alliance that Prime Minister Modi is spearheading has also been extremely important,” Kim said. But there is still a lot of work to do, he observed. “I think the Indian government is very much aware of that.” Kim said there are two most encouraging things for India. “One is that the cost of solar and the both the cost and size of battery storage is progressing so quickly…the lowest price per kilowatt hour that we’ve seen so far is in Mexico one point seven cents a kilowatt hour which for many countries makes solar less than half the cost of coal,” he said.
“Then also what we’ve seen is the rapid advances in battery storage technology. So experts have said at one point that there is an actual physical limit to the size and the cost of a battery storage technology and we’ve already broken through that supposed physical limit quite aggressively,” he said. In France, Kim would be hosting the One Planet summit with French President Emmanuel Macron and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to mark the two-year anniversary of the signing of the Paris agreement. “We are coming together not only to reaffirm our commitment to the agreement and to showcase some of the work taking place, but more importantly to look at ways to mobilize the scale of financing needed to create a low carbon climate resilient future for the economies of the world,” Kim said.