India and the EU agree to work towards Providing Energy Access to Energy-Poor Populations
New Delhi, May 27th, 2023
Union Power and New & Renewable Energy Minister RK Singh held a meeting with Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice President, European Green Deal, European Union in New Delhi on Friday.
The meeting was held to discuss cooperation under the EU–India Clean Energy and Climate Partnership. The discussion touched upon energy efficiency; renewable energy, including solar and offshore wind, green hydrogen; energy storage, diversification of the global supply chain for the energy sector, the International Solar Alliance, India’s presidency of the G20 and how India and EU can partner each other on the clean energy transition.
The Minister informed the visiting EU delegation that as India is growing, the power demand is accelerating. While the established capacity in India is 416 GW, it will double by 2030. India is accordingly adding rapidly to its power generation capacity. Despite India’s per capita and cumulative emissions being one of the lowest in the world, it has emerged as a leader in Energy Transition and Climate Action.
On the various steps being taken by India to ramp up renewable energy capacity, he said the manufacturing capacity for the most advanced solar cells and panels is coming up. By 2030, a total manufacturing capacity of 80 GW will be achieved. This will meet India’s requirements and provide a surplus for exports. It will also address the supply chain issues of the world.
Storage is needed in order to provide round-the-clock renewable energy and the transition to Net Zero. Recognizing the need to add storage capacity, the government is coming up with bids for more storage. The Government has already come up with a bid for Production Linked Incentive for energy storage and it is planning to have one more bid.
He sought the cooperation of the EU in encouraging other countries to add manufacturing facilities for energy storage so that the price of storage comes down.
Speaking of the need for alternative chemistries such as sodium ion, he suggested that India and the EU do joint pilots, in areas such as green steel and other frontier technologies. India is doing a pilot for round-the-clock renewables, using hydrogen and ammonia as storage. A construct across the world in this respect will help, he added.
The industry is switching to green hydrogen and if the journey is to continue, it will have to be on the basis of free and open trade, without barriers. He told the EU delegation to guard against protectionism. “We need to increase electrolyser manufacturing capacity if we need to increase the use of green hydrogen. India is going to come up with a PLI bid,” he added.
The Executive Vice President of European Green Deal appreciated India for its leadership in Renewable energy and energy efficiency and suggested that the two sides find ways to bring the agenda of energy efficiency to the global stage and help set global energy efficiency targets.
Timmermans spoke of the need for global targets in the introduction of renewables. “We need to look at developing industrial ecosystems which promote renewables. The EU is developing new generations of solar panels. Green hydrogen is also taking off and Europe will become a truly global market.”
Given the high costs of transporting green hydrogen, he opined that the places producing green hydrogen will attract industrial investment.
Singh spoke of the opportunity for collaboration in batteries for grid-scale storage. India has come out with a separate Production-Linked Incentive for batteries for green mobility. India was on its way to becoming one of the biggest markets for green mobility, with 80% of India’s 2-wheelers, 3-wheelers and about 50% of 4-wheelers expected to be green by 2030.
Timmermans said heat pumps were an area where a lot of innovation was expected to happen, given the rising need for cooling and heating. There is a strong consensus in the EU on the need to adopt renewable energy and on making the green transition.
Singh expressed the government’s goal of detoxifying agriculture, by making a transition away from chemical fertilisers in the times to come.
The problem of lack of access to energy by 800 million people around the world was discussed. Singh said even as India and the EU make progress through this collaboration, a large part of the world population, especially in the African continent, suffers from poor energy access.
The two sides discussed the role of the International Solar Alliance in bringing solar energy to the millions of people in Africa without access to energy. “We need to support them to help them get clean energy and we need to get countries to work with the International Solar Alliance to contribute to clean energy,” the Minister said.
This suggestion has been welcomed by Timmermans. It was agreed that the EU, ISA, Africa and India will need to set up a partnership to address this issue.
The Executive Vice President of European Green Deal was accompanied by Ugo Astuto, Ambassador of the European Union to India; Edwin Koekkoek, First Counsellor, Energy & Climate Action, EU Delegation; Sara Zennaro Atre, First Secretary, Trade Section, EU Delegation; Estela Pineiro Kruik, Member of Cabinet; Damyana Stoynova, Member of Cabinet; and Diana Acconcia, Director, International Affairs and Climate Finance, Directorate-General for Climate Action, EU.
The Minister was joined by Alok Kumar, Power Secretary; Bhupinder Singh Bhalla, New & Renewable Energy Secretary and other officers of the two Ministries.