His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd)
Governor-General of the Commonwealth of Australia
Address to the International Solar Alliance Founding Summit
Sunday, 11 March 2018
(check against delivery)
- His Excellency the Honourable Narendra Modi
(Prime Minister of the Republic of India)
- His Excellency the Honourable Emmanuel Macron, (President of the French Republic)
- Heads of State, Ministers, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen.
On behalf of the Australian Government, I would like to congratulate India and France on their concerted efforts in the establishment of the International Solar Alliance.
Prime Minister Modi, at the World Economic Forum this year, you listed climate change as one of the biggest threats for mankind.
“how many countries and people are there who want to help the developing countries and societies in providing the appropriate technology and necessary resources?”
Well, I can tell you that Australia is proud to answer that call and we look forward to working closely with ISA members and partners to meet the challenge you have set.
Australia boasts a well-developed solar industry with advanced skills, technology and know-how in utility scale projects, rooftop solar and storage as well as innovative systems for remote and island communities
And earlier this week I visited the Majura Solar Farm in Canberra which is providing thousands of homes with electricity as part of that city’s push to draw all its energy from renewables.
We also have world-leading research into new technological solutions, which will play a vital role in addressing our climate and social challenges, including:
- Transportable, flexible, printed solar sheeting for disaster relief.
- Concentrating solar for industrial heat or steam.
- And solar cooling to displace air-conditioners.
In order to share our expertise to support capacity building, the Australian Government is contributing around three-quarters of a million dollars to the Clean Energy Solutions Centre, an online platform where policy makers in ISA member countries will have free access to:
- Tailored expert advice on policy-making and finance.
- Webinars and training.
- And a library of tools and resources for policy development.
Furthermore, under the ISA’s Solar Technology Application Resource Centre initiative, Australia is leading the development of a solar training program for policy makers.
We are also establishing a Solar Centre of Excellence which will be a portal to our extensive world-class research, innovation and training capabilities in the solar sector and facilitate networking and knowledge-sharing with similar centres across the ISA.
Our University of Queensland is partnering with the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay to lead a holistic study of the true return on investments into energy access for remote and rural communities, including eliminating poverty and improving socio-economic conditions.
President Macron, we would not be here today without the support of France to get us this far and creating the momentum for future activities.
We thank France for its ongoing leadership role in keeping the global spotlight on climate action.
We also echo your call to industry and financial institutions to also take responsibility and become agents of change.
Prime Minister Modi, we are once again witnessing the power of your personal commitment and leadership at this historical event, where your vision for unlocking the potential of solar energy is coming to fruition.
It is reassuring and inspiring to see so many countries uniting under the ISA to create a better world.
The ISA has been described as India’s gift to the world for combating climate change.
And what a gift it is, promising affordable and reliable access to energy, which enables better education, health, gender equity, employment, economic opportunities and sustainable development for all.
Australia is proud to assist you in delivering that gift, particularly to the most deserving of recipients, those communities with little or no energy access.
I would also like to thank the leaders and representatives of all countries gathered here today, for uniting together in this historical opportunity to change the world in one generation.
This is an enormous responsibility and I have confidence we will be able to deliver for all those depending on us.