TERI-Yale U.S.-India Energy Partnership Summit
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs
Thank you, Dr. Yosie, for the very kind introduction, and my thanks to both TERI and Yale for their long-standing initiative to bring together leading thinkers and doers in the realm of clean energy from both India and the United States. This is essential work for those of us focused on driving our partnership forward. I’m delighted to participate in this panel because energy is at the heart of our bilateral relationship -- from the landmark civil nuclear cooperation agreement to the Partnership to Advance Clean Energy, PACE. You’ll hear a lot today about the good work my colleagues throughout the U.S. government are doing to fully implement this PACE initiative announced by Prime Minister Singh and President Obama in 2009. Both our governments, our private sectors, and our advanced research institutions, recognize that for India to realize its development goals, for the United States to access secure, reliable, and cleaner sources of energy, and for the global community to successfully mitigate climate change, we will need our best and brightest tackling the issues on the agenda you’ve set for us today.
This afternoon I’d like to highlight a few of the ways in which we are facilitating the transfer of clean energy technology to India. But I also want to emphasize the equally significant, if not more important, ways in which the United States and India are working together to develop and deploy this technology. That is, in my view, where the real future of our cooperation for clean energy lies.
One way to frame our discussion is to look at what must be done across the spectrum of technology development, commercialization, and deployment at the scales we will need to succeed.
Globally, the United States is taking a multi-prong approach to technology transfer to include providing developing countries with the tools they need for long-term planning, enhancing domestic capacity to absorb clean technology through technical assistance, and facilitating the exchange and dissemination of information, policies and best practices.
Our bilateral efforts with India are heavily focused on ensuring the best technology is available to address the dual challenges of energy access and climate change mitigation. We need large-scale deployment of existing technologies, and here we see a role for both of our governments in establishing laws and policies that can drive massive investment at the scales we need to make the transition.
Our intention has been and continues to be to pursue a policy of increasingly open access to information that will smooth the flow of technologies beneficial to India, while also fostering the collaborations that will develop technologies that make the most of India’s unique circumstances and capabilities. As a part of our official Energy Dialogue, we plan to expand our collaboration to share experiences and perspectives on low carbon growth.
We want to accelerate diffusion of existing technologies through scaled up cooperation. Just this month, OPIC approved $250 million in financing to help India’s Infrastructure Development Finance Company expand its lending to renewable energy and infrastructure projects, providing much-needed long-term capital.
We envision strong institutional support for these efforts that enables American and Indian entrepreneurs and innovators to push the limits and create technological solutions for the energy challenges of the 21st Century.
I mentioned earlier that more than simply transferring technology, the United States and India are working together to innovate solutions. One of the ways in which we’re doing this is through the $125 million PACE Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center. The Department of Energy just announced the first three consortia in which the best Indian and American scientific and technological minds will leverage their expertise to unlock the potential of clean energy technologies through joint research and development.
Finally, a word about perceived barriers to technology transfer -- intellectual property rights. I actually see IPR protections as critical to encouraging innovation and creativity. I would argue that Local Content Requirements present a more formidable challenge. By limiting the import of the most cutting-edge products, India risks creating a barrier to the adoption of solar technology that neither of us intends. India launched a national solar mission in 2009 with $19 billion pledged in credits, consumer subsidies, and industry tax breaks to encourage investment. However, local content requirements have limited India’s attraction of American and other countries’ technology and services to meet the national target. India’s experience demonstrates that progressive, business friendly policies can be a powerful incentive for international companies to work with local authorities to meet the clean technology challenge. Take Gujarat, for example, which has led India in embracing clean energy with, among other initiatives, its 600 mega-watt solar park, made possible in partnership with our Consulate in Mumbai, OPIC, the U.S. Trade Development Agency and the Ex-Im Bank.
Similarly, our civil nuclear deal, which both governments have worked so hard to fulfill, holds the promise of helping significantly to advance India’s clean energy future. At its core, the civil nuclear deal was about India’s energy security. At the same time, it laid the foundation for the strategic relationship we share with India today. In much the same way, our efforts to ensure the availability of the best technology to accelerate both of our countries’ transition to high-performing, energy secure, low-emissions economies, are a strategic imperative and also illustrative of our multi-faceted and enduring partnership. We have come a very long way on these issues – but the future ahead of us is even brighter.