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United States and India advance clean energy partnership

United States and India advance clean energy partnership
Held on July 18, 2023, in New Delhi, India, the Ministerial meeting of the US-India Strategic Clean Energy Partnership (SCEP) was held between the US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm (left), and Indian Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas His Excellency Hardeep S. Puri (photo courtesy US DOE).

The US Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm and Indian Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri held the third ministerial meeting of the US-India Strategic Clean Energy Partnership, launched in September 2021. This effort focuses on government, industry, and other stakeholder efforts to advance energy security, clean energy innovation, and decarbonization efforts to support the energy transition while ensuring clean energy access.

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During the meeting, the sides noted the growing importance of bilateral energy cooperation between the countries while underscoring the critical importance of bilateral clean energy engagement and the achievements of the SCEP in strengthening energy security, creating opportunities for clean energy innovation, addressing climate change, and creating employment generation opportunities.

In this context, the sides welcomed the growing energy trade between the countries which has been consistently scaling new heights, and welcomed the commercial partnerships facilitated by the SCEP.

The sides renewed their commitment to work towards a just, orderly, and sustainable energy transition, which prioritizes access to reliable, affordable, and clean energy supply.

Highlighting that India and the US represent the largest democracies, and the largest and fastest-growing economies in the world, the sides underscored the importance of joint action and collaboration not only for bilateral progress but also for navigating the global energy transition.

SCEP review

The sides reviewed the ambitious and dynamic SCEP mandate, which over the years has deepened and strengthened collaboration across a wide breadth of clean energy workstreams, including clean and renewable energy, energy efficiency, increased collaboration in emerging technologies like battery storage and swapping technologies, gas hydrates, advanced biofuels, and hydrogen and electrolyzer production.

In this context, the sides recognized the importance of producing green/clean hydrogen as a critical energy source for global decarbonization and agreed to support each other’s national hydrogen missions.

The sides also welcomed the work done by the five pillars of the SCEP towards deepening the cooperation between the Public and Private sectors to support decarbonization in both countries, including through public-private task forces, reverse trade missions, India-US Business Roundtables chaired by the Ministers, and other commercial dialogues.

The sides emphasized the importance of promoting energy access, affordability, and energy justice in each country.

The sides also acknowledged that successfully achieving ambitious climate and clean energy aspirations necessitates coordinated efforts on the development of energy transition roadmaps, capacity building, job skilling, and sharing of best practices at all levels of government.

In that context, the sides agreed to work toward the development of net zero villages in India to support the clean energy transition.

The sides discussed ways of advancing the positive agenda outlined by Prime Minister Modi and President Biden in their Joint Statement of June 22, 2023, which welcomed efforts under the SCEP to develop and deploy energy storage technologies, expand collaboration in support of their respective national hydrogen strategies and cost reduction goals, and accelerate cooperation on new and emerging renewable energy technologies.

To that end, the Ministers welcomed:

  • establishment of the public-private Energy Storage Task Force and related efforts to support the large-scale integration of renewable energy needed to support the clean energy transition;
  • deepened collaboration to scale and accelerate deployment of hydrogen technologies through the public-private Hydrogen Task Force and other efforts in support of their national hydrogen strategies, including a focus on common cost reduction goals;
  • launch of the US-India New and Emerging Renewable Energy Technologies Action Platform (RETAP) to accelerate the development of key technologies to advance common ambitious clean energy goals.

The Ministers also welcomed the leaders’ priority of reducing carbon emissions in the transportation sector through zero-emissions vehicles and continued collaboration on securing funding and enabling affordable and accessible debt and equity financing for the e-mobility sector.

The sides recognized the importance of the “Electric Vehicle (EV) financing services facility” which will create dedicated funds for e-mobility.

Strengthen biofuels production and trade

The sides welcomed cooperation between India and the United States to advance research, development, and commercialization of technologies in the emerging fuels arena, including bioethanol, renewable diesel, sustainable aviation fuels (SAF), and other advanced biofuels as a unique and valued asset to the transition to a cleaner energy future.

The Ministers affirmed the vision of President Biden and Prime Minister Modi for establishing the Global Biofuels Alliance (GBA).

The Ministers discussed the role that the Global Biofuels Alliance will play in strengthening markets, facilitating global biofuels trade, development of concrete policy lesson-sharing, and provision of technical support for national biofuels programs worldwide.

The sides also underscored the importance of a stable, sustainable, diversified, resilient, and globally responsible clean energy supply chain to enable energy transition pathways while minimizing risks and uncertainty.

The sides also welcomed ongoing collaboration in such areas as:

  • modernizing the power system to improve the reliability, resilience, flexibility, affordability, and sustainability of cleaner energy systems;
    promoting energy efficiency and conservation, including in buildings, appliances, and the industrial sector;
  • reducing emissions across the oil and gas sector, including through examining methane abatement and transfer and deployment of technologies under voluntary and mutually agreeable terms; and
    advancing emerging technologies to support electrification and decarbonization of hard-to-abate sectors.

Collaborate on CCUS

Recognizing the role of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) to reduce emissions, the sides agreed to spur partnership in this area by building on existing cooperation and welcoming new collaboration including exploring the geologic carbon storage potential.

The sides welcomed the addition of CCUS as a work stream under the Emerging Fuels and Technology Pillar.

The sides also welcomed engagement through the Low-Emissions Gas Task Force to reduce emissions across the sector through the deployment of emerging technologies (i.e., CCUS, hydrogen), alternative fuels, and methane abatement technologies.

The Ministers welcomed the commercial partnerships facilitated by this platform.

USAID support

The sides duly acknowledged the collaboration of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) with various Indian agencies including Indian Railways, NTPC Green National Skills Development Corporation, Skills Council for Green Jobs, and the Forum of Regulators.

The sides welcomed USAID support on the feasibility of Green Chemicals for NTPC, recognizing the importance of such initiatives to ensure the development of sustainable and clean energy systems.

The sides welcomed cooperation between USAID and Indian power PSUs – NTPC and SJVN– in the creation of a clean energy financing policy to ensure the development of sustainable, resilient, and clean energy systems.

The sides noted the importance of robust life cycle assessments and building modeling capacity to assess low carbon technologies costs and emissions, and best practices for modeling and analytics of energy consumption.

South Asia Group for Energy launched

Both sides launched the South Asia Group for Energy (SAGE) to deepen the engagement between Indian agencies and US national laboratories to support research, analysis, and capacity-building activities such as building modeling capacity in the Life Cycle Assessment of low carbon technologies and analytics on energy consumption in the building sector.

The sides noted the excellent work done by PNGRB, India, and FERC, USA under their MoU framework towards the development of competitive markets, promotion of investment in the oil and natural gas sector, protection of consumer interests, capacity building of personnel, updation of regulatory framework.

The sides also appreciated the work done by PNGRB, India, and ASME, US to develop and establish policies and programs, and procedures that will promote and sustain a market for Oil and Gas in India that aligns with ASME standards and certification programs and practices.

Finally, the sides praised the longstanding joint R&D under the Partnership to Advance Clean Energy-Research (PACE-R), including the US-India Collaborative for Smart Distribution System with Storage (UI-ASSIST) consortium co-led by Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and Washington State University.

Welcoming the importance of such R&D Initiatives, the sides welcomed the successes of PACE-R to date and highlighted the final year of the R&D track on advanced smart grid and energy storage technologies.

Agencies from across the US and Indian governments demonstrated a number of accomplishments across the five technical pillars of cooperation:

  • Power & Energy Efficiency;
  • Renewable Energy;
  • Responsible Oil & Gas;
  • Sustainable Growth; and
  • Emerging Fuels and Technologies.

The Ministers affirmed that the SCEP represents a comprehensive vision to decarbonize while ensuring healthy rates of growth for both countries and expressed hope that the work undertaken under the SCEP will continue to pave the way for a new and promising future.

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