At the June 24, 2013, U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue in New Delhi, Secretary of State John Kerry and Minister of External Affairs Salman Khurshid reaffirmed their countries’ strong commitment to work collaboratively to help ensure 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, recalling the 2009 U.S.-India Memorandum of Understanding on clean energy, energy efficiency, energy security, and climate change. Both sides reaffirmed that technological and business innovation, scientific cooperation, research, development and deployment of environmentally-friendly technologies and products, open trade, and sound regulatory frameworks are needed to deliver solutions for sustainable growth.
U.S.-India Energy Dialogue
The two sides noted the robust and full range of cooperation under the U.S.-India Energy Dialogue, highlighting ongoing engagement in the areas of electrical grid cooperation, energy efficiency, expanding markets for renewable energy technologies and addressing barriers to clean energy deployment, shale gas resource assessments and sharing lessons on exploitation, clean coal technology development, and civil nuclear energy.
U.S.-India Climate Change Dialogue
The two sides plan to enhance the existing U.S.-India Global Climate Change Dialogue to engage in constructive discussions on the Durban Platform negotiations under the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change, to facilitate climate policy dialogues and exchanges, and to identify opportunities for further and significant bilateral cooperation.
U.S.-India Civil Nuclear Energy
Over the past year, negotiations leading to the construction of U.S. nuclear power plants in Gujarat and Andra Pradesh have continued with notable progress made towards land acquisition. Additionally, our nuclear regulatory agencies have increased their scope of cooperation on key safety issues. Both the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and the Indian Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) have been working to finalize an arrangement for the exchange of technical information and cooperation in nuclear safety matters, which is needed to expand upon their current level of cooperation. A key example of cooperation under this arrangement would be the NRC working with the AERB to assist with AERB’s work to prepare to certify and license the operation in India of U.S.-origin nuclear power plants.
Oil and Gas Working Group
The U.S. Department of Energy and Indian Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas are working to renew an MOU for Cooperation in Gas Hydrates aimed at increasing the understanding of the geologic occurrence and the potential of methane production from natural gas hydrates in India and the United States.
New Joint Working Group on Sustainable Growth
On May 7, 2012 USAID and the Planning Commission of India signed a Statement of Principles forming a new Joint Working Group on Sustainable Growth that will support efforts to “enhance Indian and U.S. capacity to develop long-term plans and strategies to achieve low carbon inclusive growth.” It should also help us in development and adoption of clean technologies.
Shale Gas Feasibility Studies
On May 3, 2013, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) signed an agreement to conduct a study to support Essar Oil Limited in further assessing its coal bed methane license areas for the presence of commercial grade shale deposits, moving India closer to a potential new domestic energy resource offering cleaner alternatives to coal. USTDA signed a new grant agreement during the Strategic Dialogue for a second study to support Deep Industries Limited in assessing its conventional oil and gas license areas for the presence of commercial grade shale deposits.
Regional Gas Markets
The Department of State held an energy security roundtable with Indian counterparts in May 2013 and discussed the development of an Asian natural gas market to provide more secure and diversified supplies of natural gas throughout the region. The U.S. will continue to engage with India including through the U.S.-India Energy Dialogue to address challenges such as financing gas infrastructure, share data on regional and global natural gas trends, and partner on market development capacity building activities.
The Department of State’s Unconventional Gas Technical Engagement Program (UGTEP) has promoted unconventional gas development in India by hosting a delegation from the Ministry of Petroleum and natural gas in the U.S. and holding a workshop in New Delhi in 2013. UGTEP is increasing its engagement with India by funding a tight gas and shale oil resource assessment to be concluded this year.
At the request of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, USTDA brought representatives of India’s Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and directors of state-owned refineries to the United States to meet with U.S. companies specializing in a range of refinery efficiency and residue up-gradation technologies. The Indian refiners are looking for ways to improve refinery efficiency and productivity by integrating slurry hydro-cracking and advanced conversion process technologies, presenting opportunities for U.S. firms in this sector. The delegation visited Chicago, Houston ,and New Orleans in May 2013.
Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Cities
The U.S. Department of Energy is working in two Indian states – Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu – that are in the process of implementing the Energy Conservation Building Codes (ECBC). One city in each State (Jaipur in Rajasthan and Chennai in Tamil Nadu) has been selected to showcase implementation at the local level; the work should have benefits beyond those cities. DOE through Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) is working with India to adopt Building to Grid (B2G) best practices to improve the energy efficiency of data centers and measures to improve energy efficiency performance of exemplary IT office buildings.
DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is collaborating with India’s Solar Energy Centre (SEC) to increase understanding of how solar photovoltaic modules perform in different climatic environments over long periods of time and to develop testing procedures to help improve product reliability. NREL is updating solar maps for India with new data obtained on aerosol optical depth from the Indian Space Research Organization. DOE/NREL and India’s Centre for Wind Energy Technology (C-WET) are collaborating to enhance existing wind resource characterizations for priority areas in India.
U.S.-India Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE)
Prime Minister Singh and President Obama announced PACE in November 2009 to improve energy access and promote low-carbon growth. Under PACE-Research, in 2012, the Government of India and the Department of Energy are supporting three innovative public-private U.S.-India consortia work in solar energy, building efficiency, and advanced biofuels under the $125 million Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center. The Clean Energy Finance Center, a partnership between OPIC, the Ex-Im Bank, USAID, the Department of Commerce, and USTDA has provided roughly $2.0 billion in renewable energy financing to India, including financing nearly 40 percent of India’s first 1,000 MW of installed solar energy capacity. USTDA also supports the U.S.-India Energy Cooperation Program, a partnership of U.S. companies and the two governments which provides project development support to the Indian energy sector in such areas as energy efficient buildings, smart electrical grid development, and solar power generation, including as part of a rural micro-grid initiative. Under PACE-Deployment, USTDA has also supported a package of smart grid feasibility studies, pilot projects and technical assistance aimed at improving the reliability and efficiency of India’s electricity supply, and was able to announce a new commitment to develop a Smart Grid Test Bed with India’s Central Power Research Institute (CPRI), USAID’s $20 million PACE-Deployment technical assistance program is improving end-use energy efficiency and increasing the supply of renewable energy with a focus on strengthening policy and regulatory institutions, increasing access to finance, and enhancing institutional capacity.
In May 2013, USTDA signed a grant agreement with Reliance Infrastructure Limited. The grant agreement supports funding for a feasibility study and pilot project for the installation of a demand side management (DSM) power system on Reliance Infrastructure's Mumbai distribution system. Reliance Infrastructure has selected Innovari, Inc. (Austin, Texas) as the contractor for the project. Innovari will assist Reliance Infrastructure in deploying and utilizing the new smart grid DSM system to manage peak demand and more efficiently utilize its electric power infrastructure. Reliance and Innovari were able to sign their contract for the execution of the pilot during the Strategic Dialogue.
Clean Energy Finance
USAID announced a new loan guarantee under the Development Credit Authority that will mobilize at least $100 million for clean energy investments.
Clean Energy Ministerial
The United States and India acknowledged the important role of their joint efforts in the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM), a global forum to share best practices and promote policies and programs that encourage and facilitate the transition to a global clean energy economy. The Government of India hosted the fourth Clean Energy Ministerial on April 17-18, 2013, in Delhi, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh providing opening remarks. At the Clean Energy Ministerial, India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and the U.S. Department of Energy launched the beta version of the Indian Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Policy Database (IREEED), an online repository of India's central and state government renewable energy and energy efficiency policies, regulations, and incentive programs for the benefit of policy makers, project developers, businesses, and consumers. The United States and India co-lead the CEM’s 21st Century Power Partnership and the Super Efficient Appliances and Equipment Deployment (SEAD) initiative. India’s participation in the Clean Energy Ministerial has led to significant domestic achievements, such as becoming the first country in the world to comprehensively regulate the performance, safety, and quality of light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Through the CEM, India is also paving the way forward for a new model of power sector work, focusing on peer-to-peer engagement with international experts on grid integration of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency.
U.S.-India Collaboration on Smart and Efficient Air Conditioning and Space Cooling
The United States and India announced collaboration on smart and efficient space cooling that will aim to facilitate the AC market transformation to super-efficient space cooling technologies. Under the collaboration, the United States intends to support sharing of technical expertise and experience, building on and contributing to several existing collaborations like SEAD, the 21st Century Power Partnership, and PACE–D/PACE-R.
On May 15, India was welcomed as a new Observer State to the Arctic Council. The Arctic environment is changing rapidly, primarily as a result of global climate change. The emergence of new challenges and opportunities in the Arctic is drawing greater global attention. India is a major player in global scientific climate studies and has a research station in the Arctic. India's observer status in the Arctic Council should bring reciprocal benefits to the global community by enhancing global science collaborations and data exchanges on climate modeling and research.
A Partnership agreement was signed between the U.S. and India for the Sustainable Forests and Climate Adaptation programme on September 30, 2010. Under President Obama’s Global Climate Change Initiative, in July 2012, the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests and USAID initiated a five-year, $14 million contract to take Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) actions to scale in India. The program is to: (1) develop and deploy scientific tools and methods for improved ecosystem management, forest carbon inventory, and monitoring; (2) design modalities to provide better incentives to forest-dependent communities for forest management and conservation; and (3) enhance human and institutional capacity. USAID works in collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service on this initiative.
Disaster Preparedness and Climate Change Adaptation
USAID/India's Disaster Management Support project, in collaboration with the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs aims to reduce the vulnerability of eight Indian cities to climate change-related disasters. The project, which started in October 2012, should enhance institutional capacities to integrate climate risk reduction measures in development programs, undertake disaster risk mitigation activities based on scientific analyses, and enhance community preparedness and measures. The U.S. Geological Survey collaborates with India on ground water and aquifer studies.
Short-Lived Climate Pollutants
Through the Global Methane Initiative, the United States and India collaborate on a range of joint projects and programs to capture methane and use it as a clean energy source. Additionally, the U.S. EPA has collaborated with Indian oil and gas companies to capture and reuse fugitive methane from gas facilities, and has established a research clearinghouse with Coal India on coal mine and coal bed methane. Coal India is using this facility to explore prospects for commercially viable methane capture systems to both reduce emissions and recycle methane as an energy source. India and the U.S. will work together to exchange information on short-lived climate pollutants, including black carbon.
India has long standing collaborations on environment and forestry with various U.S. agencies including the U.S. Environment Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). EPA has been an active partner with India in several areas, including environmental governance and air quality. The USFS and the USFWS have collaborated over the past few decades with India in the areas of watershed management, wildlife conservation, improving forest health and productivity, and integrated forest planning and management for conservation of biological diversity in India. The USFS has also conducted workshops in India on carbon monitoring and assessment, and climate adaptation and mitigation issues in the Eastern Himalayas.