New Delhi: Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), which has been partnering with India on various infrastructure projects for the past six decades, has funneled a total of $600 million into Indian banks and financial institutions over the past 10 years for creating renewable energy capacity, ThePrint has learnt.
“We have lent USD $600 million (Rs 4,468 crore) to Indian banks and financial institutions who will disburse it to various private players,” said Saito Mitsunori, Chief Representative of JICA’s India office, in an interview to ThePrint Wednesday.
This financial commitment was made over various phases starting in 2011 then in 2014 and 2016, he said.
“I am confident that this will trickle down into implementing about 7.3 gigawatt of renewable energy capacity across India,” added Mitsunori.
This comes as the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference or COP26 is underway in Glasgow where world leaders have come together to discuss climate change action commitments.
“At this very crucial juncture of COP26, PM Modi has announced India’s considerable efforts to align government policy with renewable energy commitments. JICA hopes to align our activity to the government’s initiatives as well,” said Mitsunori, adding that projects in the hydro-power generation sector in India are progressing well.
In 2018, JICA signed an agreement with the Indian government to provide a loan of Rs 1,800 crore for construction of the Turga Pumped Storage in Purulia district, West Bengal.
Unlike building a dam or other forms of hydro-power construction that aren’t environment-friendly, pumped-storage is a method that stores energy in the form of gravitational potential of water pumped from a lower elevation reservoir to a higher elevation reservoir.
“This project aims to create a renewable power capacity of 1,000 megawatt (1 gigawatt). The project is progressing well. Consultants have been appointed for detailed design of the project. Soon, the procurement stage will be launched,” said Mitsunori.
‘Totally different project execution environment in India’
Apart from renewable energy projects, JICA has funded the High-Speed Rail (HSR) between Mumbai and Ahmedabad, meant to be modelled after Japan’s bullet trains. The project in India, however, has missed the deadline twice and is now set to be completed in 2026.
Asked why the project has faced numerous delays, Mitsunori said: “This is not a Japan-only project; it involves bilateral cooperation. In India, it’s a totally different project execution environment. We have been intensely discussing each and every detail of the project from design to implementation. It is taking quite some time to finalise details of the project but that’s quite natural and reasonable”.
According to reports, land acquisition issues have contributed to delays in the High-Speed Rail project between Mumbai and Ahmedabad.
With JICA funding several infrastructure projects in India, including the ambitious Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor project, there are concerns about carbon emissions behind the process of these projects.
Mitsunori countered this by saying that certain projects ultimately aim to reduce carbon footprints, such as the high-speed rail project and the Delhi metro project which is currently undergoing its fourth phase to extend to the outskirts of the capital city.
“Rather than depending on driving cars to workplaces or elsewhere, the rail transportation projects will at the end of the day, save energy, reduce carbon emissions and minimise unnecessary movement. In the metro rail projects, we have specific energy-efficient devices that consume less energy than conventional coaches,” he said.
(Edited by Paramita Ghosh)