Recognizing the critical importance of increasing energy access, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and improving resilience in the face of climate change, President Obama and Prime Minister Modi committed in September 2014 to a new and enhanced strategic partnership on energy security, clean energy, and climate change. Since that time, the United States and India have made important strides together to advance this strategic partnership, and to our related cooperation on environmental stewardship.
Global Leadership on Climate Change and Clean Energy
In recognition of the urgent threat of climate change, the United States and India recognize the urgency of the threat of climate change and are therefore committed to bringing the Paris Agreement into force as quickly as possible. The United States reaffirms its commitment to join the Paris Agreement as soon as possible this year. India similarly has begun its processes to work toward this shared goal.
In addition, the two sides plan to work together to adopt in 2016 an ambitious amendment to phase-down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons – a potent greenhouse gas – under the Montreal Protocol, which could avoid a half-degree of temperature increase. By avoiding up to 0.5°C of warming by the end of the century, an HFC Amendment is one of the most consequential actions we can take to implement the goals of the Paris Agreement. Furthermore, the United States and India committed to work together to reach a successful resolution to address greenhouse gas emissions from international civil aviation at the upcoming International Civil Aviation Organization Assembly.
The United States welcomes the launch of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and recognizes the critical role it can play in the development and deployment of solar power. Demonstrating support for the ISA, the United States and India plan to jointly launch an effort to promote access to off-grid solar power.
The Government of India has been a strong partner in the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM), a forum of the world’s major economies, working together to drive the transition to clean energy. India has demonstrated how international collaboration, such as efforts to establish lighting test standards through the CEM’s appliance efficiency initiative, can lead to huge benefits. India’s domestic efficient lighting program, which has deployed over 100 million efficient LEDs, inspired the CEM’s Global Lighting Challenge.
A Strengthened and Expanded U.S.-India Partnership to Advance Clean Energy
In September 2014, President Obama and Prime Minister Modi pledged to strengthen and expand the highly successful U.S.-India Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE). Since then, the two countries have made important progress and have launched important new activities to advance both countries’ ambitious clean energy objectives and Nationally Determined Contributions.
Civil Nuclear Energy: The United States welcomes India’s ratification of the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage earlier this year and the significant steps taken by Nuclear Power Corporation of India, Limited and Westinghouse towards finalizing contractual negotiations by June 2017 on a deal to build six AP1000 reactors in India by 2030. Once completed, this project will fulfill the promise of the U.S.-India civil nuclear agreement, will create jobs in both the United States and India, and will advance our shared clean energy objectives.
Accelerating Renewable Energy Deployment: The United States and India are cooperating on key issues to support the Government of India’s goal to deploy 175 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2022. Today the United States is announcing 5.4 GW of new commitments from U.S. renewable companies that are seizing the opportunity to invest in India.
- Rooftop Solar: The two governments announced plans to extend their successful cooperation on rooftop solar to three new Indian states to improve utilities’ capacity to scale up.
- Grid integration: The United States and India are taking significant steps to enable large-scale integration of renewable energy into India’s power grid through the Greening the Grid initiative. These include a first-in-class national study of strategies to transform India’s grid, a new $18 million contract to implement renewable integration strategies, a new $4.7 million initiative to pilot new technology for balancing the power grid, and two new partnerships between U.S. and Indian electricity regulators and grid operators.
- Solar Resource Data: The countries are also collaborating to enhance the quality and accuracy of India’s solar resource maps and data to help developers and policymakers identify high-quality, bankable solar energy projects.
- New Investments: The two commitments announced today should result in a near doubling of current installed solar energy in India:
- 8minutenergy Renewables will pursue a 4 GW solar photovoltaic project pipeline in India to help meet the Indian government’s renewable energy goals. These utility-scale solar projects are expected to generate over 10,000 Indian construction jobs in total. The company has also committed to contribute to the Clean Energy Finance Forum, which provides broad multinational private sector feedback and support to the U.S.-India Clean Energy Finance Task Force and toward Government of India’s vision of deploying the capital needed to achieve it’s 100 GW solar target.
- In support of the Indian government’s renewable energy goals, SunLink Corporation is partnering with domestic Indian companies with a deployment target of 1.4GW over the next five years. With this approach, SunLink is also helping stimulate domestic Indian manufacturing and construction jobs. The introduction of SunLink’s proven technology into the emerging Indian solar market will help the country realize its renewable energy goals on an accelerated timeline.
- Clean Energy Finance Hub: The United States is pleased to announce a new Clean Energy Finance Hub that will serve as a coordinating mechanism to focus United States Government effort that, in partnership with leading Indian financial institutions, will increase renewable energy investment in India.
Mobilizing Investment for Clean Energy: Through PACE the United States and India have mobilized over $2.5 billion since 2009 to support clean energy deployment. Today, the United States and the Government of India announced the creation of two innovative new initiatives that together are expected to mobilize up to $1.4 billion in climate finance for Indian solar projects.
- U.S.-India Clean Energy Finance Task Force: The two governments are now working to implement the recommendations of the U.S.-India Clean Energy Finance Task Force, including standardizing a model power purchase agreement (PPA), optimizing a payment security mechanism for delayed payments under PPAs for utility scale clean energy projects and creating a warehousing facility of small renewable projects for an asset-backed green bond issuance.
- New Clean Energy Finance Initiatives: The two new initiatives announced today are groundbreaking as leading U.S. foundations – including the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Jeremy & Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. – have agreed to collaborate in the creation of the facilities with matching support from the Government of India.
- U.S.-India Clean Energy Finance initiative: The U.S.-India Clean Energy Finance (USICEF) initiative will raise and deploy up to $20 million in project preparation support, to be sourced equally from U.S. foundations and the Government of India, to solar power projects under consideration for financial support from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC). It is anticipated that this funding will leverage an estimated $400 million in investment from OPIC and other investors for projects deploying distributed solar for grid tied communities, off-grid communities, and those served by mini-grids to benefit poor communities
- U.S.-India Catalytic Solar Finance Program: The U.S.-India Catalytic Solar Finance Program (CSFP) will raise and deploy up to $40 million in high-impact catalytic capital, to be sourced equally from U.S. foundations and the Government of India, in support of investments into India’s solar market, with a particular focus on the off-grid and solar rooftop markets that will benefit poor communities. CSFP’s flexible capital will enable commercially oriented capital to flow into new, innovative, and high-impact projects. It is anticipated to mobilize up to $1 billion in capital flows.
- EXIM Bank-IREDA Memorandum of Understanding: The Export-Import Bank of the United States (EXIM Bank) will continue its partnership with the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) to identify opportunities for financing made-in-America renewable energy and energy efficiency exports in support of India’s ambitious clean energy goals. The EXIM Bank also confirms its willingness to engage IREDA in discussions focused on new potential financing structures, including those that do not contemplate a sovereign guarantee, in order to boost U.S. exports to India in this critical sector.
- These initiatives complement the ongoing cooperation between the United States and India on off grid energy access, specifically the Promoting Energy Access through Clean Energy (PEACE)program. In May 2016, the two governments announced the first nine recipients of off-grid innovation funding through the joint $7.9 million PACEsetter Fund. And the new investment initiatives announced today complement the Energy Access Investment Readiness Initiative, a public/private partnership launched in 2015 to mobilize $41 million to incubate off-grid enterprises.
Energy Efficiency: Expanding on historical collaboration, the United States and India are updating the Energy Conservation Building Code and supporting comprehensive state-level policies for the current framework, while making significant progress on space cooling collaboration.
Innovation: President Obama and Prime Minster Modi launchedMission Innovation at the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP-21) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris, pledging, along with 18 other countries, to seek to double clean energy research and development investment over five years. This pledge builds on existing cooperation under the U.S.-India Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center (PACE-R), a $100 million program funded by the United States and Indian governments and private sector. The renewed PACE-R includes extending funding for three existing research tracks of solar energy, building energy efficiency, and advanced biofuels for five years. The two countries announced a $30 million public-private research effort in smart grid and grid storage.
Skills: In support of the Government of India’s ambitious goal of training 50,000 solar professionals, the United States, which has its own target to train 75,000 solar workers, collaborated with India to establish the Solar Energy Training Network, and plans to expand its support for this effort. The United States and India will continue to partner to build capacity for clean energy research and deployment, including through upgradation of alternative energy institutes, and fellowship opportunities for professionals whose work is critical to the success of PACE.
Bilateral Climate Cooperation
Through the U.S.-India Joint Working Group on Combating Climate Change and related fora, the United States and India continue to advance bilateral cooperation on climate change.
- Fulbright-Kalam Climate Fellowship: In March, the U.S. and Indian governments announced the first call for applicants for the U.S.-India Fulbright—Kalam Climate Fellowship, part of a commitment made by President Obama and Prime Minister Modi to building long-term capacity to address climate change-related issues in both countries.
- Partnership for Climate Resilience: In support of the U.S.-India Partnership for Climate Resilience launched by President Obama and Prime Minister Modi, NOAA and the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) are leading a collaboration to model future climate conditions in India at high resolution, to assess climate risks at the sub-national level in India and to support actions that promote climate-resilient sustainable development. Also under this Partnership, NASA released its NASA Earth Exchange Global Daily Downscaled Projections (NEX-GDDP) dataset that provides downscaled climate model data for the Indian sub-continent. Over the coming year, IITM and NOAA intend to co-host a series of workshops in India with U.S. and Indian experts to focus on the development and use of downscaling tools for seasonal forecasting and multi-decadal climate risk assessment.
- Advancing Air Quality Cooperation: The two countries will work to reduce urban population exposure to air pollution by disseminating information through the AirNow-International program, which should enable urban policy planners to improve air quality in cities, allowing for estimates of health and climate change benefits of these strategies.
- Technical Cooperation on Heavy-Duty Vehicles: Both countries have pledged to cooperate on reducing GHG emissions from heavy-duty vehicles in India through the G-20. This technical cooperation will help inform the design of heavy-duty vehicle GHG standards which will result in significant oil saving benefits in India.
Enhanced cooperation on energy security remains an important area of cooperation and the two countries engage in regular discussions to exchange information on global energy trends and mutual interests in market stability and promotion of sustainable economic growth.
- Gas Hydrates: The U.S. Department of Energy and the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas of the Republic of India, through its Directorate General of Hydrocarbons aim to exchange information and analyses, conduct joint studies and projects, exchange scientific and technical personnel, and facilitate the creation of a Gas Hydrate Technology Center in India. The proposed collaboration aims to enhance and accelerate the understanding of the geologic occurrence, distributions, and production of natural gas hydrates along the continental margin of India and in the United States of America.
Refinery Environmental Sustainability and Utilization Improvements: The U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) announces support for a feasibility study to assist India’s leading state-owned oil and gas company (IOCL) analyze advanced technology solutions to improve energy efficiencies and local air quality at IOCL refineries. The study will also assess options to enhance the utilization of petroleum by-products to produce cleaner transportation and power generation fuels in an effort to assist India meet its new low-sulfur emissions standards.
- Oceans: The leaders highlighted the importance of working together to address the key oceans issues of our time – strengthening cooperation in marine science, ocean energy, managing and protecting ocean biodiversity, marine pollution, and sustainable use of ocean resources – during the first India-U.S. Oceans Dialogue later this year. They also look forward to India’s participation at the third Our Ocean Conference that the Secretary of State will host in Washington in September.
- Wildlife: Following on Prime Minister Modi’s call to embrace conservation as a development imperative, the United States and India have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to Enhance Cooperation on Wildlife Conservation and Combating Wildlife Trafficking. Under the MOU, the two governments aim to cooperate to strengthen capacity for wildlife conservation and management in India, in areas such as critical habitat and species protection and wildlife trafficking law enforcement. They also aim to cooperate regionally and globally, to further the mutual objective of combating the illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products. Particular areas of potential cooperation include wildlife forensics and conservation genetics, natural world heritage conservation, and nature interpretation and conservation awareness.