India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Obama share a priority: producing clean energy for India. With more than 300 million of India’s 1.3 billion people currently living off the energy grid and another 200 million with unreliable access, the United States and India are partnering to boost delivery of reliable, clean energy even to remote Indian villages. And clean energy technology can stimulate economic growth.
The U.S.-India Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE) is a cornerstone of the strong relationship between the two countries that President Obama described in a 2009 speech to India’s parliament as “a defining partnership of the century ahead.” Through PACE, businesses, universities and government agencies in both countries advance low-carbon economic growth by working together to develop and deploy an array of clean energy technologies and policies. The Clean Energy Access Network draws on more than 90 public and private partners to research solar energy, efficient buildings and advanced biofuels. A USAID-led technical assistance program works with India’s ministries of Power and New and Renewable Energy on energy efficiency, renewable energy and cleaner fossil fuel technologies.
The U.S.-India Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center supports collaboration between high-level U.S. research centers with their counterparts in India, among them the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the University of Florida, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the Indian Institute of Science–Bangalore, the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology–Hyderabad and CEPT University–Ahmedabad, to advance research and development on solar technology, biofuels and other clean energy technologies.
Through PACE, the U.S. government mobilized nearly $2.4 billion in public and private resources for clean energy investments in India. A new partnership track focuses exclusively on clean energy for the millions who are underserved by India’s electricity grid.
Energy security and trade, efficient energy, and reliable power for India’s underserved communities are areas of mutual interest. Efforts of leading national and state-level agencies to strengthen institutional capacities, design new policies and programs, and make clean energy more affordable and accessible create jobs in both countries.
In September 2014, Modi and Obama agreed to strengthen PACE by expanding technical and financial cooperation. Investors noticed. Two major deals with the U.S.-based solar company SunEdison and India’s Adani Enterprises, inked in January, will develop 5 gigawatts of renewable energy within five years in Karnataka and build a $4 billion solar manufacturing facility. Solar power could provide energy to millions in a country with an abundance of sunshine.