India and the US are likely to sign an energy deal under which India could commit to generating 15-20% of its energy need from zero emission sources by 2030, officials said on Monday.
The deal that would be signed during President Barack Obama’s visit this month will also have the US agreeing to support India’s efforts through the government’s flagship Make in India programme by investing in urban energy infrastructure and making energy-saving appliances as well as in research. The US has already committed to $1 billion for financing renewable projects in India.
India has announced it has installed capacity to generate 1,00,000 MW from solar and 50,000 MW from wind energy sources by 2019, and officials said an agreement was on the “drawing board”.
“We have suggested an action plan to the government to ensure that one-third of energy generation by 2030 can be fossil fuel-free,” said Kirit Parikh, former Planning Commission member and chairperson of the government panel on low carbon growth strategy task force.
Achieving the target will not be difficult considering the projected energy demand for 2020 is about 5,00,000 MW, another official added.
Sources said both Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi were keen on clean energy and both leaders discussed it when they met in Washington last September.
A climate change deal with India is important for Obama as it would enable him to push world leaders to agree to a comprehensive climate change treaty when 194 countries meet in Paris next year.
Both countries are looking to address issues related to the nuclear liability law, an issue that comes under clean energy category.
India is also pushing for a permanent exception from the US’ Free Trade Agreement clause to get shale gas imports, which will go some way in meeting the country’s burgeoning energy demands.
With investment and technology as focus areas, official sources said the cooperation in energy sector, especially in renewable energy, can be linked with the Make India programme.
“The private sector and private investment should play a key role in this and making this sector attractive to them is a challenge that needs to be addressed. Initiatives like formation of a new Clean Energy Finance Forum to promote investment and trade in clean energy projects will boost efforts,” an official said.