Recently, Denmark has signed ISA Framework Agreement (ISA FA) and Instrument of Ratification with India.
Denmark becomes first country to ratify International Solar Alliance Framework Agreement (ISA FA) after amendments to it entered into force on January 8.
Greece formally joined ISA on 26th June 2021.
Back to Basics
About International Solar Alliance
- This is a treaty-based intergovernmental organization.
- The Headquarters is in India with its Interim Secretariat being set up in Gurugram.
- ISA is an alliance of over 120 countries initiated by India, most of them being sunshine countries which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
- Launched at the 21st session of United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP-21) in Paris, France.
- The primary objective of the alliance is to work for efficient consumption of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
- The framework agreement of the International Solar Alliance opened for signatures in Marrakech, Morocco in November 2016, and 200 countries have joined.
- Till date 74 countries have signed and 52 countries have ratified the Framework Agreement of the ISA. With ratifications by 15 countries, the ISA will become a treaty based inter-governmental international organisation and it will be recognized by UN legally to become fully functionable.
- India said all member states of the United Nations, including those lying beyond the tropics, can now join the International Solar Alliance (ISA) with an amendment to its framework agreement coming into effect recently.
- Global Solar Atlas: The alliance has partnered with World Bank to launch Global Solar Atlas at an ISA event at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi. Global Solar Atlas is a free online tool that displays annual average solar power potential at any location in the world and thus identify potential sites for solar power generation.
- International Solar Alliance (ISA) has recently launched two new initiatives – a ‘World Solar Bank’ and ‘One Sun One World One Grid Initiative’ – of global import to bring about solar energy revolution globally.
- The ISA Secretariat has recently launched a ‘Coalition for Sustainable Climate Action’ comprising of global public and private corporates.
- It has also organized First World Solar Technology Summit (WSTS) in September 2020 with an objective of showcasing to Member Countries the state of the art and next-generation solar technologies.
- The ISA Secretariat launched the ISA Solar Technology and Application Resource Centre (ISTAR C) to support capacity-building efforts in the ISA member countries through training.
- The Government of India has been supporting the ISA by providing training to master trainers in the field of solar energy through the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Scheme.
Why is ISA important?
- First, it is harnessed from nature free of cost and is abundantly available.
- The importance of solar energy in the domain of global energy security has to be studied in the backdrop of two simultaneous transitions which are occurring in global energy dynamics. These are, growing demand for energy as evident from the above IEA report and secondly, the need for “clean energy”.
- It has also been observed that since countries located between “Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricon” have access to uninterrupted sun rays, it is necessary to tap these resources for the betterment of the society.
- This is going to be the “alternative OPEC”. The Indian Prime Minister’s view can be substantiated from the fact that Saudi Arabia, which monopolises energy production, has also joined the ISA recently. This demonstrates that ISA is, over the years, becoming an important platform for equitable production and distribution of energy resources.
- Unlike conventional energy like oil, gas and coal which need to be extracted and transported to the third country through pipeline or sea tankers, the advantage of harnessing solar energy lies in the fact that it can be produced at local level at a minimal cost.
- The final point that needs to be addressed here is that since most of the member states of the ISA are poorer countries, they can join together and bargain with the oil- rich countries to break their monopoly over oil and gas.
- For instance, India, which is emerging as the hub of solar energy, being one of ISA’s founders, can reduce its energy dependence on the West Asian countries. This will save a lot of foreign exchange.
- Already, attempts are being made in the direction within the ISA. The Indian Ocean Renewable Ministerial (IORM) meeting, which met in October 2018, is a step in this direction. In that meeting, an institutional agreement between the ISA and IORM was signed.
- ISA is also taking a big step towards addressing some of the questions like “technological transfer”, “storage of solar energy” and even financial assistance to member countries, along with project layout and project planning are being carried out as has been envisaged on the ISA website.
- To sum up, it can be stated that ISA is certainly going to add a new dynamism to energy diplomacy in the 21st century. In the foreseeable future, one can witness a just and equitable energy order if solar energy, along with other forms of renewable energy, can be harnessed more positively.
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