Singapore: India's recent agreement with Japan on developing environmentally-friendly nuclear energy for civilian use is the right step and will boost the
country's renewable energy plans, the IEA said here on Friday.
"We support India's renewable energy plans, the building of solar industry hub in the country and its approach to nuclear as a civic energy source," International Energy Agency executive director Fatih Birol told PTI after launching the 2015 medium term market report for coal in Singapore.
Paris-based IEA is an autonomous intergovernmental organisation which works to ensure reliable, affordable and clean energy for its 29 member countries and beyond.
Birol said that India with its right safety policies will work out nuclear energy deal with the rest of the international community.
He also called on the Indian government to continue its renewable energy programmes, including the development of solar technologies despite these being out-priced by the current low crude oil prices.
"The low oil price environment will not last forever and as such I am hopeful India will continue its programmes to develop renewable energies," he said.
The IEA executive director noted the urgent need for India to increase electricity generation while facing strong power demand from industrialising economy.
"India also needs to provide full electricity access to the 240 million people still without it. But for all this demand, India needs to have a balanced energy mix coal, natural gas, renewables and nuclear," he said.
Capping years of negotiations, India and Japan on December 12 sealed a broad agreement for cooperation in civil nuclear energy with the final deal to be signed after certain technical and legal issues are thrashed out.
The agreement, featuring broad contours of cooperation in the nuclear field, was signed after Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe held the ninth annual Indo-Japan summit talks in New Delhi.
The IEA executive director also applauded India's imports of higher grade coal for its electricity generating plants. Birol noted India's need to manage electricity demand by increasing production of local coal which though was of a lower grade, but pointed out how the country has become the
world's largest coal importer especially of a higher grade.
The development of solar technologies is not only important for domestic use but also for India to play an important role in the global solar industry, he said.
"Therefore, we have all the reasons for the government not to change its support for the renewable energy in the wake of low oil prices and I am sure the Indian government will not change its policy. I think they should continue to maintain the support to solar technologies."
"This support can be in many different ways including incentives and subsidies and facilitate investments in the solar energy," he said.
India's coal imports was 239 million tonnes in 2014, up by a massive 26.8 per cent or 51 million tonnes over the previous year, surpassing Japan and becoming the second largest coal importer in the world.
This year it is expected to become the worlds top coal importer, surpassing China. By 2020, India is projected to import 350 million tonnes of coal a year.