Published on July 1st, 2016 | by Zachary Shahan11
India’s Renewable Energy & Coal Minister Talks Energy Transition (CleanTechnica Exclusive)
July 1st, 2016 by Zachary Shahan
Aside from two other Indian ministers, SunEdison’s President of Asia Pacific & Sub-Saharan, and me, India’s Minister of Coal, Power, and New & Renewable Energy, Piyush Goyal, was another one of the key presenters at the Edelweiss institutional investment conference in Mumbai, India, earlier this year. In the video below, he first gives a 20-minute political speech on lofty matters such as bringing electricity to the populations of India that lack it and transitioning to clean, renewable energy.
He also focused on the hard work the Modi administration has been doing to build a strong foundation for improvement across various sectors of the country, work that may not always bring a magic wand to the country’s problems, but that should enable consistent, sustainable, long-term improvement across India.
Once Piyush Goyal sat down, he was delivered more specific, potent questions from top executives at Edelweiss. Interestingly, the first one highlighted, quite incorrectly, the challenges of growing the economy on renewable energy rather than coal when renewables are “much more expensive” than coal. Mr Goyal was correct to squash that out of date misinformation, but it, unfortunately, took him awhile to get to that correction. He first bashed the US and Europe for being responsible for much of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions — a political tactic, for sure, which was interesting to witness in India to an Indian audience rather than on one of the global media channels where I normally see such comments, but certainly a strong and valid point. He then talked about the need for baseload coal in India, which is actually a red herring (see here, here, and here for just a few takedowns of the baseload meme in regards to the new energy economy).
Mr Goyal then talked about working toward carbon capture and “clean coal,” which many here would consider BS smoke & mirrors, but then he made an impassioned pitch about Indian also being global citizens and needing to do their part to stop global warming. Then, he finally got around to cost, and he said renewables costs much less than people typically think (yes), and that costs have fallen much more in the past year than people expected — but in line with what he had said (and been ridiculed for) a year before.
Mr Goyal also answered questions about natural gas, tariffs, India Coal production, and other matters. Have a watch:
And, as an addendum, here’s a useful video about baseload power production, and then my presentation at this same conference: