Obama commits financial support to India’s solar energy mission

U.S. President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday identified a number of areas where the two countries can cooperate together including renewable energy and climate issue talks.

Obama offered financing backing to India’s solar energy target and sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s support at global climate talks in Paris later this year.

“I asked Obama to lead efforts in making renewable energy cheap and accessible. We believe renewable energy is a major priority. Civil nuclear agreement was the centerpiece of our transformed relationship,” Modi pointed out.

Besides, both the countries agreed to pursue for a global climate deal on emission cuts in the approaching UN climate conference to be held in Paris in December this year.

Both sides renewed their commitment to the U.S.-India Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center (PACE-R), a $125 million program jointly funded by the U.S. and Indian governments and private sector.

The renewed areas include three research sections of solar energy, building energy efficiency, advanced biofuels for five years and launching a new zone on smart grid and grid storage technology.

The United States and India agreed on enhancing bilateral climate change cooperation, cooperating on Hydroflurocarbons (HFCs) and accelerating Clean Energy Finance.

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The Department of Commerce will also launch a trade mission on clean energy.

The Export-Import Bank is seeking potential projects for its MOU with the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency for up to $1 billion in clean energy financing.

Obama and Modi

Besides, OPIC plans to build on its existing portfolio of $227 million in renewable energy and continue to identify potential projects to support utility-scale growth and off-grid energy access.

Additionally the U.S is expected to implement EPA’s AIRNow-International program to help urban India reduce the exposure to carbon and implement corrective strategies to improve air quality.

Moreover, both countries will discuss on reducing the emissions impact of heavy-duty vehicles and transportation fuels, aiming to curtail the overall environmental impact.

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Both India and the U.S will also initiate Climate Resilience Tool Development that will help downscale international climate models for the Indian sub-continent to much higher resolution than currently available.

The United States and India will jointly promote super-efficient off-grid appliances that can extend the range of energy services to help meet India’s energy access goals.

In addition, India and the United States struck a deal that could open the door for U.S. companies to build nuclear reactors in India.

Obama is on a three day visit to India and he will be the chief guest for this year`s Republic Day parade. He will also be the first US president to attend the Republic Day celebrations.

Meanwhile, Greenpeace India Sunday expressed its disappointment that the India-US bilateral talks on climate change did not go beyond “rhetoric” and “platitudes”.

In response to the joint agreement between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama on strengthening partnership in clean and renewable energy efforts, the environmental NGO, in a statement, expressed disappointment over the announcement that “didn’t go beyond rhetoric and the usual platitudes”.

However, it welcomed the leaders’ decision to phase out hydro-fluorocarbons (HFC), a greenhouse gas that adversely affects the climate.

The big shift that was seen was the agreement they reached to phase out HFCs, which has been a thorny issue in the past with India not keen to move on it…. (it) is certainly good news,” the statement said.

Sabeena Wahid
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