Last month, CleanTechnica reported on the expectations of the Indo-US clean energy sector from Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States. It was mentioned that a multi-billion push for the renewable power sector is in the making.
The ball for this will be set in motion with the signing of an MoU for a $1 billion loan agreement between the US Export-Import Bank and the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) for disbursal to grid-connected projects in India. This loan will be used only for sourcing of US equipment for (mainly solar) projects in India.
However, several reports claim that projects financed through these loans will have to use 30% of domestic (Indian) content. If true, this will be seen as an extension to Modi’s pet project “Make in India,” which aims to increase the manufacturing base in India. First Solar has welcomed this cooperation between the US and India, calling it a win-win for both developers and power consumers.
First Solar, which had grabbed a large part of orders during the first phase of India’s National Solar Mission, on account of a loophole (now closed) has lately been missing the action. The firm has worked with the US ExIm bank on a number of projects.
A host of other initiatives have been announced to foster an Indo-US cleantech partnership. This includes a Smart Cities Partnership, a new program to scale up renewable energy integration into India’s power grid, support for new cleantech innovation centers in India, cooperation to unlock private sector investment, and the formation of a new Clean Energy Finance Forum to promote investment and trade in clean energy projects.
In the warmup to Modi’s visit, India dumped the solar anti-dumping proposal it had on the table. In a recent interview with the UK-based Guardian, Piyush Goyal (Indian Minister for Energy) spoke bullishly on the growth of the Indian solar sector. He said that “for India to add 10 GW a year of solar, and six, seven or eight of wind every year is not difficult to envisage.” However he let loose the proverbial cat amongst pigeons saying that, “Coal will have to expand in a very rapid way. I would wish that the proportion of renewable energy was higher but my fear is that, even if I would want to do more, I may not be able to fund it. Coal I would be able to fund unlimited.”
In parallel to the official dialogue, the 5th US-India Energy Partnership Summit was also under way at Washington. Organized by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) and Yale University since 2009, the Summit focuses on pathways to accelerate the growth and development of sustainable energy partnerships. Speaking at the summit US Deputy Secretary of Energy, Mr Daniel Ponemon stressed “We have every reason to act together (to counter climate change)”.