New Delhi: Union Minister of State for Science & Technology Jitendra Singh on Saturday called for promoting start-ups in carbon neutral building construction and linking them with industry to help India achieve 500GW non-fossil energy capacity by 2030. He was speaking as chief guest at the Solar Decathlon organised in New Delhi.
Referring to the promises made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at COP26 summit in Glasgow, Singh said that India had made a commitment of generating 500 gigawatts (GW) electricity from non-fossil fuel and half of energy from renewables by 2030. Reduction of total projected carbon emissions by 1 billion tonnes from now to 2030, reduction of the carbon intensity of the economy by 45% by 2030, over 2005 levels and achieving the target of net zero emissions by 2070 were also promised by the PM.
Addressing the Solar Decathlon India (SDI) awards ceremony—an Indo-US joint initiative for clean energy—in New Delhi, Singh urged real estate developers, builders, industry, and academia to find innovative, affordable solutions suitable for India’s climatic zones and unique needs to address extreme weather events, and reduce risk to lives and property.
He said that PM Modi has extended full-fledged support to start-ups and even called upon them to tackle challenges facing the country including the climate challenge. He said start-ups in the arena of net-zero carbon emission have started emerging fast in the Indian landscape and added that the Department of Science and Technology (DST) would extend financial support to them.
He said, apart from clean and green buildings, emphasis on clean transportation, solar water pumps and solar-powered refrigeration, clean grid power, electric vehicles are some of the important areas for India’s cleantech ecosystem.
Recognizing the challenges of developing net-zero energy and net-zero-water, Singh congratulated the participants and winners of SDI for taking up real, live building projects and developing innovative solutions. He said, SDI is helping develop the next generation of architects, engineers, and entrepreneurs who can deliver net-zero-energy buildings.
“SDI is a unique initiative that is building a network of young professionals who can innovate and implement resilient net- zero energy buildings to combat climate change, as well as a network of faculty instructors who can guide innovation and mentor multi-disciplinary projects. In only its second year, 1200 students representing 109 institutions from 42 different cities across India participated in the SDI programme,” said the Minister.
Dwelling on the theme of Climate Change and Net-Zero: Challenges for the Building Sector, Singh said, globally, the construction and operation of buildings account for 38% of the total energy related CO2 emissions that cause global warming. He said, “India is experiencing a building boom, and almost 70% of the floor area that India will have in 2050 is going to be new construction in the next 28 years. This presents a huge opportunity to make 70% of our buildings net-zero by leveraging new technologies and encouraging the use of local, sustainable building materials.”
S Chandrasekhar, Secretary, DST, said that the department had been given full mandate for carbon capture and its utilisation. He described DST’s leadership role in energy efficiency including supporting R&D on thermal comfort, low energy cooling, day-lighting, passive design, building automation, and intelligent decision support systems.
Prasad Vaidya, Director, SDI, said “With over 5,00,000 students graduating annually from building sector courses, and over 40 billion square metres of buildings to be built between now and 2050, India has a unique opportunity to aggressively decarbonize this new construction and build a large stock of net-zero buildings. SDI is the hub where this opportunity comes together for the real estate industry to explore climate change solutions with students and faculty, and apply the most feasible technology and design innovations on their projects.”
Nandini Kannan, Executive Director, Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum, underlined the SDI’s role in dealing in challenges of climate change and said “Achieving India’s ambitious climate and clean energy goals will require the development of a globally-trained workforce that leverages technology and cutting-edge R&D to develop innovative, impactful solutions.”
Later, Singh distributed awards and walked around the poster session and interacted with the young innovators and their faculty mentors.