His Excellency Mr. Peter Hass, the Consul General of USA, Mr. Naoki Sakai from ADB, Mr. Dona Younger from IFC, my colleagues from the State Government, Ladies and Gentlemen!
I am very happy to be part of this important ceremony today. It is indeed a very important moment in the history of renewable energy sector. It is particularly important for solar energy. However, to my mind, it is much more important than just a step forward in energy security.
Friends, our commitment to Renewable Energy is an integral part of our commitment to address the issue of Global warming and Climate change. In fact, I have been saying that it is an issue of ‘Climate Justice’. It is a part of our concern for the future generations.
It is a part of our concern for the poor and the less privileged who are going to be the worst sufferers of climate change. In view of this, we have taken a series of steps to mitigate the impact of Climate Change. Gujarat is one of the four Governments in the world which has a separate department for Climate Change. We have dedicated a huge amount of money for this issue.
We all know that we cannot reverse the clock of human civilization. However, we have demonstrated ways in which it is possible to live a quality life even by consuming less energy. We have demonstrated that it is possible to produce more, both in agriculture and industry, even by consuming lesser energy. More and more consumption of energy will not help us to come out of the vicious cycle of Carbon emission. I have listed some thoughts on this in my book on climate change which is titled as ‘Convenient Action: Gujarat’s response to Challenges of Climate Change’. In this book, I have shown some simple ways in which energy can be saved.
For example, we have brought a paradigm shift from ground water irrigation to surface water irrigation by constructing several Hundred thousand of minor irrigation structures.
You might be aware that Gujarat is a power surplus state. Still the Govt. of Gujarat is spending a huge amount on renewable energy (more than Rs. 2,000 crore per year). We are doing this mainly to contribute in the war against global warming and climate change. Gujarat is a victim of many natural disasters (earthquake, flood, drought, etc.).
We do not want our brothers and sisters living in other parts of the globe to suffer like us. We also feel that we should make sacrifice for the betterment of our next generations. That is why we are spending money and investing our efforts in this direction. We are sacrificing our today for the tomorrow of our next generation. We have a long term vision and want to leave a Green footprint in whatever we do. We want to leave a footprint which the winds of history or minds of historian cannot erase. I request you to join our hands in this historic movement on this historical occasion.
I also feel that by locating us where we are, perhaps the nature has given us the responsibility to lead this movement. We are blessed in the form of strong solar radiation. If only 0.1% of Gujarat’s land is set aside for solar energy, the potential is 10,000 MW of solar power! In wind energy too, we are strategically placed, with a long coast line of 1600 Km. In wind power, with an installed capacity of 2255 MW, we are contributing more than 4500 million units of electricity. Thus, blending the nature’s gift with human endeavour, we are committed to Green and Renewable Energy.
This solar park of 600 MW is again a part of our commitment to find out development processes and technologies which are sustainable. Gujarat is the first State to develop such a Solar Park in the Country. If you see the speed in our solar journey, you will be amazed. Though there was lot of uncertainty, we took a bold initiative and announced the Solar Power Policy in January- 2009. The foundation stone for this Solar Park was laid on 30 December, 2010. Within a short span of one year, this park recorded an installation of 605 MW. Today, it is being dedicated to the nation before you.
The success of this park and the commitment it has received from the investors and generation companies is very motivating. However, my own thinking is to take this movement further. My ultimate end is to produce solar power on roof tops and in farmers’ fields. It is not enough to produce renewable energy. It is also important to produce it in a decentralized way. I need your support. I particularly need your inputs and insight in this journey.
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