60 solar powered Indian cities by 2020: US energy official
The US Department of Energy and the All India Institute of Local Self Government (AIILSG) launched a joint training programme on 'Energy efficient and green cities' in Goa, which will train Indian experts, universities, local self governments and civic bodies on getting cities to move to solar powered energy.
"Twenty cities in India have already been lined up for this programme and they will be partnered with cities in the US for moving towards this objective," said Ginberg, who is senior executive advisor to the assistant secretary of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, US department of energy.
According to an initial list of partnered Indo-US cities, Ahmedabad has been tied up with Atlanta and Columbus; Bangalore with San Francisco; Chennai with Denver, Delhi with Chicago, Mumbai with Los Angeles, Surat with Philadelphia and Vadodara (Baroda) with Edison, New Jersey, which has a large Gujarati community.
"This tie-up with enable institutions such as schools to study energy-smart schools in the US and implement the same here, if they wish to do so," said Vatsal Bhatt, co-ordinator of US, India and China city partnership for sharing best practices in energy and environment.
"For example: Mumbai port could get an on-field experience how LA port has adopted energy smart measures," said Bhatt, who is also energy analyst, Brookhaven National Laboratory.
When queried whether the US government would be funding such projects in India, or provide the equipment, he replied in the negative.
It maybe noted here that the US government has realised the importance of renewable energy in the future and has pumped billions of dollars into such programmes in America.
"Barack Obama has marked 60 billion dollars into energy efficiency and renewable energy. Five billion dollars has been set aside each for cities and states, federal buildings and low income families to move to renewable energy sources," Ginberg added.
Also present was Union minister of state for power Bharatsinh Solanki, who said that the country could make use of its open fields and rooftops of houses to harness solar energy and water harvesting.
"Delhi has already considering on setting up an energy efficiency board. Nuclear energy will the answer in the future, even thorium techniques could be utilised. However, in India, we have financial constraints," he said.
Later, governor S S Sidhu said that of the 10 largest cities in the world, eight will be in developing countries. "We have been focussing more on space and less on people. We must also look at improvements in slums and housing for the poor," he said.
Also present at this conference are mayors and civic officials from 30 Indian cities and abroad.