19 applications for export of shale gas to India are pending with the Department of Energy.
By American Bazaar Staff
WASHINGTON, DC: It’s not enough to have eyesight in India. It’s also important to be able to have electricity at home, to see in the night sans candles, flashlight or moonlight, especially for poor people.
This was obvious when Farooq Abdullah, India’s Minister of New and Renewable Energy, pointed out that 40 per cent of the Indian people don’t know what is electricity, and 80 per cent of the energy needs of India in the form of inputs like coal, gas and petroleum is important, speaking at the fourth edition of the U.S.-India Energy Partnership Summit, ‘Stimulating Technology, Trade and Development’, organized by The Energy and Resources Institute-North America (TERI) in association with Yale University, here.
Abdullah also said that U.S. banks like the Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation provided support for solar projects that were predicated on buying thin film from the U.S. He said U.S. banks should provide financing regardless of the origin of the products used in the projects, a subject which is controversial between the two countries.
The roster of speakers was impressive, a veritable who’s who from both India and the United States, as they dwelt on the need to stimulate clean and renewable energy, technology, as well as trade and development, between the two countries, to alleviate India’s drastic need for energy to serve its billion plus masses.
The prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh, said in a statement that several bilateral energy initiatives have been launched, especially in the areas of clean and renewable energy and energy efficiency, after talks between him and President Obama. Itwas given a better perspective when Nirupama Rao, India’s Ambassador to the US, said that “energy security is a question of life and survival for the Indian masses.”
Rao said that the export of natural gas and fossil fuels from the U.S. to India could have a vital role, specifically shale gas, which would provide energy security for India and are liable market for the U.S. She said that 19 applications for export of shale gas to India are pending with the U.S Department of Energy and urged that their approvals be expedited.
Technology in the area of renewable energy seemed to be the order of the day as speaker after speaker spoke about it.
Nobel Laureate Dr. R K. Pachauri, Director General, TERI, in his address, said, “In a world which is flat, as described by Thomas Friedman, there are opportunities by which policies in different countries can stimulate the development and dissemination of technology, the promotion of trade with large mutual benefits and development across the globe.The inter-linkages between these aspects requires the institution of policies that are comprehensive and integrated across various sectors of the economy. Leaders from the two largest democracies in the world would benefit both societies by discussing appropriate policies and putting them in place in both countries.”
The theme of environment as well as capitalism resonated in the keynote address delivered by the former vice president Al Gore, who is also co-founder and chairman, Generation Investment Management. In his address, Gore said the crisis of the environment was a crisis of democracy and of capitalism – two systems that are supposed to draw on the “wisdom of the crowds” and ideally drive human development.
In an emotional speech, he said that in tackling the crises of environment and global warming, “We are failing because democracy has been hacked – American democracy has been hacked.”
He added, “Capitalism has been hacked. It is driven by quarterly reports and the hedge funds that run on derivatives. Therefore, they are not able to respond to needs of the people and the looming environmental issues.”
Gore criticized the US government, saying “our businesses are failing us,” but also affirmed that “democracy is the destiny of humanity.”
Referring to the ‘Lighting a Billion Lives’ initiative of TERI, which brings solar lamps to villages without electricity, Gore called it “a wonderful visionary project.”
In his keynote address, Daniel Poneman, Acting Secretary of Energy, U.S. Department of Energy, said the creativity seen in technology development in dealing with issues of climate change should now be carried over to the area of finance in order to ensure that capital is available for renewable sources of energy, according to a press release by the organizers. He pointed out that the main cost for renewable sources of energy like solar and wind is capital.
Ponemon also spoke of the strides made in India in science and technology education – which he said, he witnessed first-hand at TERI University – and said that U.S.-India cooperation through the joint research and development program, which is funded by the U.S. to the tune of$125 million, will have the participation of 95 government and private entities through the next five years. The research is focused on the areas of building efficiency, solar and bio fuels.
TERI also released its publication, “Clean Energy Solutions: A Compilation of Studies from TERI India,” at the meet. Pachauri thanked Sanjiv Mehra, Managing Director at Goldman Sachs, and his wife, Karen Petersen Mehra, for making the publication possible with their generous support.
Earlier, at a high-level CEO dialogue, “The Energy and Development Nexus: A New Era of Corporate Leadership,” Sam Pitroda, Chairman, National Innovation Council and Adviser to the Prime Minister of India on Public Information Infrastructure & Innovations said, “The lessons from the telecommunication revolution should be applied to energy development”.
He further added “The growth of the telecommunications sector can be ascribed to, among other things, the regulation, the opening to the private sector, the scalability and technological innovations that brought down costs significantly. Original thinking can bring these factors to bear upon the energy sector to achieve breakthrough”.
According to Pitroda, distributed technology is the only way to go for energy efficiency in the power sector following the breakthrough in the telecommunications sector that has scaled up the number of telephones in India to almost a billion.
Robert Blake, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, in his speech said that under Obama, the U.S. has placed great importance on cooperation in the clean energy sector. He said that under U.S.-India cooperation, $1.75 billion is being allocated to clean energy program and $1.25 million for research.
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