India

India

Searching for the right policies -- New Delhi seminar

Finding ways of exporting Indian renewable energy know-how and technology to other developing countries was a key theme of a renewable energy summit held in New Delhi in September. African countries in particular are looking to India for cost effective technologies. Yet India has been unable to capitalise on its expertise in the area because the perceived risks of investing in the sector are too high. To counteract these barriers the Ministry for Non Conventional Energy Sources has launched its Non Conventional Energy Technology Commercialisation Fund. It aims to commercialise Indian technologies and support the setting up of manufacturing facilities for renewable energy systems.

Finding ways and means of exporting Indian renewable energy know-how and technology to other developing countries was a key theme of a renewable energy summit held in New Delhi on September 28. African countries in particular are looking to India for cost effective technologies, said S.K. Chopra, a senior adviser with the Ministry for Non Conventional Energy Sources (MNES). Yet India has been unable to capitalise on its expertise in the area and its broad industrial base because the perceived risks of investing in the sector are too high, he said.

To counteract these barriers MNES has launched its Non Conventional Energy Technology Commercialisation Fund with a budget of $410,000. It aims to commercialise Indian technologies and support the setting up of manufacturing facilities for renewable energy systems and products.

"There is a need for funding institutions to bring in innovative schemes for wind power to be made more viable," said Harish Himat Lal Mehta of Suzlon Energy, a leading wind turbine manufacturer in India. From USAID, the American overseas aid organisation, S. Padmanabhan suggested that renewable energy should be integrated into any power system reforms and regretted that it was not included in the recently passed Energy Conservation Bill. Renewables have also been left out of the country's Electricity Bill, but Chopra assured that MNES was taking action to have them included. The main features of the electricity bill include allowing unlicensed generation of electricity, granting permission for companies to generate as much of their own power as they like, and removal of restrictions on unbundling electricity generation and distribution.

The summit was told that over the past year the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) has subsidised 151 projects and financed more than 400 projects with a value of $937 million. IREDA fills the financing gap left by financial institutions in India who do not want to lend money for wind development because of the large risk involved, according to an IREDA representative. "If the government does not put forward policies favourable to renewables, no financial institution will come forward. We also need right policies for energy purchase and land," he said.

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