Indo-Japan deal on green energy to be finalised soon

Written by Oineetom Ojah | New Delhi , Sep 30 | Updated: Oct 2 2008, 04:45am hrs
Even as India awaits the US Senates nod for the Indo-US nuclear deal, the country is close to finalising an energy deal with Japan for cooperation in specific projects in the energy sector, mainly to develop clean energy technologies and tap renewable energy sources. The deal is likely to be sealed during Prime Minister Manmohan Singhs upcoming visit to Tokyo .

We have already initiated an energy dialogue with Japan. I was in Tokyo to further the energy cooperation issue and do the groundwork ahead of the Prime Ministers visit to Tokyo , Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia told FE after his recent visit to Japan .

The energy cooperation will be done through exchange of experts and capacity building, as well as through the participation of Japanese companies in the power sector in India . Cooperation in the energy sector will be of a comprehensive nature, involving the government as well as industry.

Japan will specifically assist India in reducing energy consumption in 15 identified energy-intensive sectors through energy audits and adopting reduced energy consumption norms, an official said.

Japanese companies like Kobe Steel Ltd have developed clean coal-burning technology. Forging closer energy ties with Japan could see these companies bringing their technological expertise to India.

The two countries are already working on setting up five working groups, as well as a Steering Committee to guide the working group activities. Tomofumi Hiraku, Director-General of the Agency for Natural Resources and Energy , Japan and Joint Secretary ( East Asia ), Ministry of External Affairs, will be the co-chairs for the steering committee.

The committee would chart out the overall direction of the Indo-Japan energy dialogue. The five working groups will deal with electricity and power generation, energy efficiency, coal, renewable energy, and petroleum & natural gas.

The Indo-Japan energy dialogue gained momentum during Prime Minister Singhs visit to Japan in 2006. Japanese Trade Minister Akira Amari and Ahluwalia had already signed an agreement after the India-Japan energy dialogue meeting held in Delhi last year.

The Tata Energy Research Institute (Teri) and the Institute of Energy Economics of Japan (IEEJ) have also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to undertake research and study of energy challenges in the world in general, and India and Japan in particular.