KOLKATA: The spurt in construction of buildings in Kolkata is a timely opportunity to start the transformation of the city’s economy from a high carbon path to a sustainable low carbon one, feels British junior minister (energy and climate change) Sandeep Verma.
“I have seen dramatic changes happen to the city. There is a lot of construction happening here. It is a great opportunity for the city to adopt a green growth strategy and ensure that energy efficient buildings are constructed. India (and Bengal) is on a high growth trajectory with 70% of infrastructure yet to be put up,” said the Baroness who first visited Kolkata during her honeymoon in 1977 and twice subsequently.
Though she is on a personal visit this time as well, Verma took time out to interact with CII members on July 7 and urged upon them the need to embrace renewables in a major way. “Schools and hospitals are two institutions where solar panels should be installed so that they can run entirely on solar power,” she said.
The UK government has already announced a £1 million programme to help the state adopt green and sustainable growth. During British PM David Cameron’s visit last November, the UK government and Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) had signed an MoU to mainstream climate change within KMC policies and strategies.
Greg Barker, the minister of state for climate change and energy, who had accompanied Cameron during the trip, visited again in February and announced the £1 million funding for the initiative.
“UK will help the KMC prepare a roadmap for low-carbon, carbon-resilient Kolkata; organize sensitization programmes and strengthen the institutional capacity of KMC so that it can implement the roadmap, improve governance and respond to climate change challenges,” said British deputy high commissioner Scott Furssedonn-Wood.
While the sensitization programme for councillors, MLAs and MPs through use of special tool kits is expected to commence within a month, a team led by renewable energy expert SP Gon Chowdhury is working on a policy and regulatory framework for grid connected rooftop solar so that Kolkata can introduce the concept of net metering.
According to sources, the initiative is aimed at giving a boost to renewable energy by providing incentives to homes and institutions to install rooftop solar panels and generate a portion of its total energy requirement. When the solar energy generation is more than that required in the building, it will have the ability to push the electricity into the grid.