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New clean energy funds announced by Indian finance minister

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In her annual federal budget statement on Wednesday, Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman unveiled a number of fresh clean energy programmes while stressing the importance of “green growth” for the nation.

For efforts like mangrove restoration, which helps remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, turning garbage into biogas, and accelerating renewable energy initiatives, more than $8 billion in funding has been promised. However, specifics of how the money would be used are still a secret.

The minister announced that the ministry of petroleum and natural gas will get 35,000 crore rupees ($4.3 billion) to support India’s energy transformation and assist it achieve its goal of net zero emissions by 2070. India is currently the third-highest emitting country in the world.

The extra funds are a part of the government’s $550 billion budget, which is intended to increase expenditure in the run-up to the general election next year in order to boost economic growth and generate jobs. Within the first few minutes of her address, Sitharaman spoke on the importance of scaling up clean energy for the economy and jobs.

Additionally, Sitharaman unveiled a new framework for pumped storage systems for hydropower and suggested government incentives for energy storage systems in India that would support continuous usage of renewable energy.

To help with new sustainable energy production in the Himalayan area of Ladakh, where electrical grid infrastructure is still a major problem, she set aside an additional 20,700 crore rupees ($2.5 billion).

Other initiatives to encourage the use of less-polluting fertilisers and to reduce the use of chemical fertilisers were also mentioned, but it was not clear exactly how much money would be spent on them.

Lithium-ion batteries, a vital component of many electric vehicles, would no longer be subject to import charges, according to Sitharaman. However, there was no exception given for protective taxes in the solar energy industry.

Now, both houses of parliament must discuss the budget before it can be passed, which is expected to happen given that Modi’s party has a commanding majority.

India and other governments across the world are prioritising switching from fossil fuels to clean energy as they work to reduce global warming. The government of India recently unveiled a climate action campaign to promote more environmentally friendly lifestyles as well as a green hydrogen project for clean fuel. However, the nation continues to rely largely on burning coal, which warms the earth.

Patrick Huston
Patrick Huston
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