Union Minister of State (I/C) Science & Technology; Minister of State (I/C) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh today called for promoting StarUps in “carbon neutral” building construction and linking them with industry to help India achieve 500GW non-fossil energy capacity by 2030, as promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at COP26 meeting.
In his Special Address as Chief Guest at the Solar Decathlon India Awards Ceremony, an Indo-US joint initiative for clean energy, Dr. Jitendra Singh urged real estate developers, builders, industry, and academia to find innovative, affordable solutions that adapt to India’s climatic zones and unique needs, address extreme weather events, and reduce risk to lives and property. The Minister reiterated that PM Modi has extended full-fledged support to StartUps and even called upon them to tackle challenges facing the country including the climate challenge.
Recognizing that StartUps in net-zero carbon emission have started emerging fast in the Indian landscape, Dr Jitendra Singh promised all financial support from DST and at the same time urged businesses to come forward with open arms to adopt such ventures. 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 challenge of developing net-zero energy and net-zero-water, Dr Jitendra Singh congratulated the participants and winners of Solar Decathlon India for taking up real, live building projects and developing innovative solutions. He said, Solar Decathlon India (SDI) is helping develop the next generation of architects, engineers, and entrepreneurs who can deliver net-zero-energy buildings.
Dr Jitendra Singh distributed awards and walked around the poster session and interacted with the young innovators and their faculty mentors. He said, Solar Decathlon India is a unique, annual challenge for undergraduate and postgraduate students from Indian colleges and universities to address Climate Change by developing innovative, net-zero energy and climate resilient solutions for the building sector in India.
Dr. Jitendra Singh said, India has laid out an ambitious plan to address climate change, one of the biggest challenges facing the global community. He said, at the recent COP26 meeting held in Glasgow, Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, presented the Panchamrit plan, India’s five-point climate action agenda. They include 500GW by 2030, 50 per cent of its energy requirements from renewable energy by 2030, Reduction of total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes from now to 2030, Reduction of the carbon intensity of the economy by 45 per cent by 2030, over 2005 levels and achieving the target of net zero emissions by 2070.
Dr Jitendra Singh informed that Solar Decathlon India is a U.S.-India collaboration under an MOU between the Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum (IUSSTF) and the US Department of Energy, and is conducted by the Alliance for an Energy Efficient Economy (AEEE) and the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS). Solar Decathlon India is supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
The Minister said, Solar Decathlon India 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 Solar Decathlon India program.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, DST is also playing an active role in the Mission Innovation program and has opened avenues for collaborative research in clean energy with 25 countries and added that Solar Decathlon India teams in partnership with builders and developers can take forward DST’s R&D and implement them on real building projects.
Dwelling on the theme of Climate Change and Net-Zero: Challenges for the Building Sector, Dr Jitendra 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, the Minister added.
Dr Jitendra Singh informed the gathering that developing net-zero energy and net-zero water buildings are not easy and there is a need to bring together real estate developers, builders, industry, and academia to find innovative, affordable solutions that adapt to India’s climatic zones and unique needs, and address resiliency. The Minister also emphasised that we need to foster innovation in our students and future entrepreneurs, and encourage our architecture and engineering institutions to adapt their curriculum and training to address these challenges.
Dr. S. Chandrasekhar, Secretary, Department of Science and Technology said that Dr Jitendra Singh gave the full mandate to DST 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, daylighting, passive design, building automation, and intelligent decision support systems.
Prasad Vaidya, Director, Solar Decathlon India, 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. Solar Decathlon India 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.”
Dr. Nandini Kannan, Executive Director, Indo-U.S. Science and Technology Forum, highlighted Solar Decathlon India 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.