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U.S.-India Bilateral Cooperation on Energy and Climate Change

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Issue date: 
June 14, 2012
Publisher Name: 
Orissa Diary
Author e-Mail: 
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ecalling the 2009 U.S.-India MOU on clean energy, energy efficiency, energy security and climate change, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Minister of External Affairs S.M. Krishna reaffirmed their countries’ strong commitment to work collaboratively in bilateral and multilateral fora to help ensure mutual energy security, combat global climate change and support the development of low-carbon economies that will create opportunities and fuel job growth in both countries.  The two countries will continue to consult regularly on the future of global oil and gas markets, expanding sustainable energy access to support jobs and economic growth in both countries, collaborating in research and technology, and increasing U.S. exports of clean energy technology.
Ensuring Mutual Energy Security: Recognizing the implications of energy access for national security, both countries will continue their efforts to advance mutual energy security and ensure access to secure, reliable, and affordable energy supplies. Highlighting the role of natural gas as a bridge fuel toward a clean energy future, the United States will continue to support India’s efforts as its seeks to increase natural gas as a share of its energy mix.  Through the State Department’s Unconventional Gas Technical Engagement Program, the United States also agreed to share U.S. experience and best practices in establishing the necessary environmental protection and regulatory framework as India prepares for its first shale gas bid round, scheduled for 2013. Both countries recognize the need to work collaboratively through the IEA in the event of global supply disruptions.  The United States welcomed India’s leadership in the progress that has been made on the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline and agreed to support the project and other energy-related regional efforts through continued diplomatic engagement.  To further support these efforts, the countries announced the next meeting of the Energy Dialogue in September 2012.
PACE Implementation: The U.S.-India Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE) aims to accelerate the transition to low-carbon, energy secure economies through the research and deployment of clean energy technologies. Over the past two and a half years, PACE has mobilized more than $1.7 billion in public and private resources for clean energy projects in India. A progress report on the U.S. government’s PACE implementation efforts can be found here.

·         In April 2012, both sides announced the first consortia awardees under the PACE Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center.   The joint U.S.-India consortia will dedicate efforts towards the discovery of transformational scientific and technological solutions in the areas of building efficiency, solar energy and advanced biofuels.  The $125 million effort in these three technology areas will involve over the work of more than 95 government, private and university entities over five years.

·         The two sides will continue technical cooperation on renewable energy and energy efficiency deployment through the U.S. Department of Energy and its national labs, supporting work on solar resource assessment and mapping, solar technologies training for Indian financial institutions, improved wind resource estimates, data center and IT office building efficiency and Energy Conservation Building Code implementation at the local level.

·         In June 2012, USAID launched a new five-year technical assistance program to accelerate India’s transition to a high performing, low emissions, and energy secure economy, in partnership with the Ministry of Power and the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. The $20 million Partnership to Advance Clean Energy Deployment (PACE-D) contract will improve end-use energy efficiency, increase the supply of renewable energy; and adopt and accelerate deployment of cleaner fossil fuel technologies. The focus of the program will be on strengthening the enabling environment, increasing access to finance, and enhancing institutional and human capacity. It will also support the National Mission on Enhanced Energy Efficiency and the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission being implemented under the India’s National Action Plan on Climate Change.

·         Recognizing that economics and innovation will be important determinants of our future, both countries have leveraged the strengths of their private sectors to support clean energy deployment in India.  The two countries launched the US-India Energy Cooperation Program (ECP) in late 2010 to leverage U.S. private sector interest in clean energy deployment.  With support from the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) the ECP has grown to 16 member companies working to build government-to-business technical and commercial partnerships and to mobilize funding for a growing portfolio of clean energy projects in India.  USTDA sponsored the Clean Energy Exchange Program, a series of four reverse trade missions to the U.S. in the areas of smart grid expansion, solar power generation, unconventional gas, and green buildings. In project development USTDA has funded feasibility studies and pilot projects for smart grid implementation with utilities in India and private sector led solar power generation, and the countries were pleased to acknowledge during the Strategic Dialogue new USTDA commitments to sign agreements with Power Grid Corporation for two advanced smart transmission projects.  Overall, USTDA support for infrastructure feasibility studies, reverse trade missions and other technical assistance in India has translated into at least $1.7 billion in U.S. exports.

·         The United States has established a Clean Energy Finance Center at the American Center in New Delhi, staffed with representatives from the U.S. Departments of Commerce, State, Energy, AID, USTDA, the Export-Import Bank and OPIC.  These agencies have mobilized more than $1.7 billion in public and private resources for clean energy projects in India.  To date, OPIC has contributed to these efforts through $740 million in financing and insurance for clean energy projects in India. Since January 2011, the Export-Import Bank has approved 9 solar energy financings in India with an aggregate value of over $300 million, supporting 238 MW of generation. Additionally, there is another $100M (60MWs) of solar energy transactions in India under consideration by the Board of Directors. The Ambassador’s Clean Energy Pathfinders Fund will support the early planning, design, demonstration and replicable adoption of the commercial deployment of clean energy and energy efficiency technologies and practices in strategic sectors in India, and act as the venture arm of the Clean Energy Finance Center.

Global Action through the Clean Energy Ministerial:  India will host the fourth meeting of the CEM (CEM4) in 2013.  U.S.-India collaboration through the CEM takes place through five initiatives and includes a strong focus on equipment and appliance standards, awards, and incentive programs through the Super-efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment (SEAD) initiative; energy management and cool roofs demonstration projects in India under the Global Superior Energy Performance Partnership; and the India portion of Lighting Asia, a program aimed at providing safe, clean and affordable off-grid lighting to two million rural Indians over the next three years. Enhancing bilateral efforts, CEM cooperation reflects the countries’ commitment to addressing global energy and climate challenges.
Sustained Commitment to Addressing Climate Change: The United States and India expressed continued support for their high-level dialogue on climate change, which contributed to the successful outcomes in Durban.  Both sides reaffirmed their intention to work together toward implementation of those outcomes, including negotiating the 2015 “Durban Platform” agreement under the UN Framework Convention.  Further, both countries emphasized the importance of the international community working together in the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) on effective measures to reduce global aviation emissions. The two countries underscored their commitment to collaborate on issues such as clean technology, adaptation, and transparency of reporting on national actions and emissions. The United States and India successfully implemented the first bilateral collaborative project to obtain continuous measurements of atmospheric state, energy budgets, clouds, and aerosol properties within India, and provided critical data for improving climate models.
The United States and India also reiterated their commitment to cooperation to address short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), which are responsible for a significant share of near-term warming and cause millions of premature deaths and millions of tons of crop losses on a global scale every year.  Bilateral collaboration on SLCPs includes a joint U.S.-India task force report on climate-friendly alternatives to hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), extensive collaboration with India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation on methane abatement from oil & gas operations through the Global Methane Initiative, and information exchange on the countries’ respective black carbon research programs.
Support for Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+).  The countries also agreed to continue bilateral collaboration under existing frameworks on climate adaptation and reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+). In the summer of 2012, USAID will award the new five-year, $15 million Partnership for Land Use Science (Forest-PLUS) technical assistance program. The program was designed and developed in partnership with the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) to directly support the Government of India’s Green India Mission. The program aims to reduce emissions and enhance carbon sequestration through India’s forests by taking REDD+ actions to scale. USAID and the U.S. Forest Service will also work with the MOEF in carbon inventory and monitoring, and to pilot and test carbon estimation methodologies.


Extpub | by Dr. Radut