November 10, 2010 | By Keith Martin in Washington, DC

India plans to launch a green bank that would provide funds to wind, solar, tidal and other renewable energy projects.

The bank would either be housed in the existing Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency or complement it and be capitalized from a clean energy fund that the government established in the current budget and that is expected to reach about $1.1 billion this year through a new $1 a ton tax on coal.

Details of the bank remain to be worked out. India has a current electric generating capacity of 150,000 megawatts of which 6,000 megawatts, or 4%, comes from renewables. It has a population of 1.2 billion. (For purposes of comparison, the United States has a generating capacity of 1.1 million megawatts for a population of 311 million.)

Nepal, next door to India, has had a Clean Energy Development Bank since 2006 that operates as a joint venture with the Dutch development bank FMO (Nederlandse Financierings- Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden N.V.). The United Kingdom is also moving to establish a green bank. (See separate article on page 45 of this issue.)