Obama visit: Agreement on clean, efficient energy on cards

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jan 25, 2015 02:47 IST

India and US are likely to have an agreement on “enhanced strategic partnership” in clean energy and energy efficiency even through the Americans have expressed concern over the mandatory domestic content requirement for renewable sector. Despite that, the officials say a pact on clean energy is in the offing during US President Barack Obama second visit to India.

The Jawaharlal Nehru Solar Mission prescribes a mandatory domestic content requirement for installation of photovoltaic solar systems aimed at pushing the government’s Make in India policy.

The US in the past had threatened to take India to the World Trade Organisation terming it an “unfair practice” but India had countered saying protecting domestic manufacturing is not WTO violation.

Official sources said that the US is keen to invest in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative to generate about 1,00,000 MW from solar and 55,000 MW from wind by 2020 but wants relaxation in domestic content requirement rules. “We are not agreeable to the US suggestion that they should be allowed to assemble in India and not manufacture,” an official said.

The United States is willing to offer a basket of new technologies for India to transit into a low carbon growth model that includes leapfrogging into next level of energy efficient appliances, removing technological bottlenecks in wind energy sector and technological solutions to check India’s rising air pollution.

Many of these new clean technologies will get demonstrated in three cities, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency Varansi, that India would aim to make smart with hrlp from the United States.

The US is also willing to invest in the industrial corridors India has planned and revamp of the infrastructure sector, including the Railways.

The two countries will also take forward its clean energy partnership called PACE (Partnership to Advance Clean Energy) aimed at promoting low-carbon growth through joint research and deployment of advanced technologies on energy efficiency and biofuels.

India and US have already committed $100 million in public and private sector funding for this.

“Recognizing unconventional gas as a lower-carbon bridge fuel to a clean energy future, the United States will partner with India to improve its understanding of the country’s unconventional natural gas resource potential under the auspices of the Global Shale Gas Initiative (GSGI) and PACE,” a joint statement issued after a summit level meeting between President Obama and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said.

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