With an aim to expand Indo-US cooperation, a US agency today announced five new partnerships in the fields of clean energy, environment and climate change to help India make the transition to a low emission and energy-secure economy.
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) announced five new partnerships, four of which are with the government. The announcement was made by USAID Assistant Administrator for Asia Jonathan Stivers who was in Delhi to represent the agency at the second US-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue.
“As part of the expansion of US-India bilateral cooperation, USAID will continue to support Ministries of power, new and renewable energy, and environment to help India transition to a high-performing, low-emission, energy-secure economy,” Stivers said.
He announced the partnerships highlighting that “USAID welcomes and appreciates this historic opportunity to play a useful role in India’s path forward.”
First among these new partnerships is USAID’s commitment to work with the Bangalore power utility BESCOM and US-based company Innovari to launch the first grid integration pilot under the “Greening the Grid” (GTG) initiative.
GTG is a joint initiative of USAID and the Power Ministry to strengthen India’s power grid to manage large-scale integration of renewable energy.
India aims to provide 24/7 power to all Indian households by 2020 by adding and integrating 175 gigawatts of renewable energy into the national grid.
Under another partnership, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and USAID agreed to expand their solar rooftop programme to an additional eight states and 15 utilities.
“During the first phase of this programme, USAID and MNRE supported the states of Rajasthan, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh to introduce appropriate net-metering policies and regulations and provided technical assistance to the state distribution utilities implementing solar rooftop programs.
“In the expanded programme, USAID will also partner with MNRE to train 5,000 utility engineers and 1,000 bankers and entrepreneurs on installation and operation best practices for solar rooftop systems,” a statement said.
USAID also announced a partnership with the power Ministry’s public sector energy efficiency company, Energy Efficiency Services Limited, to transform India’s markets for super-efficient air-conditioners.
At present, less than five per cent of households have air-conditioners in India, but with rising demand for cooling and better comfort, the growth rate of air-conditioner sales is expected to accelerate to 30 per cent per annum over the next five years.
“To improve urban air quality through energy efficiency, USAID is partnering with the University of Chicago to support the efforts of the Indian government and Gujarat State Pollution Control Board.
The partnership is aimed at piloting a market instrument designed to reduce costs for industrial plants to comply with regulatory limits on emissions and to provide incentives encouraging emission reductions.
The first pilot under this partnership will be tested in Gujarat, the statement said.
It added that during the US-India Joint Working Group on Combating Climate Change, USAID announced its collaboration with the Forest Survey of India (FSI) under the Environment Ministry to strengthen the latter’s capacity to better predict forest fires, use high-resolution satellite imagery for forest resource assessment and develop protocols for strengthening forest inventory.
This initiative will mobilise the scientific expertise of the US Forest Service, the statement added.