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Remarks by Secretary (West) during the India-EU Energy Panel Meeting

December 01, 2021

Thank you Madam, DDG Ms. Worsdorfer. Good day to colleagues who are joining from Brussels and to colleagues in Delhi.

I am happy that as agreed by our leaders at the Porto Summit to hold the next meeting of the India-EU Energy Panel at an early date, we have been able to organize the 9th Energy Panel Meeting today, after a gap of five years. The preparations for this meeting had started a year ago and I am happy that we have managed to carry out the preliminary work despite restrictions of COVID-19.

India and the EU share a strong strategic partnership that covers cooperation across a wide range of sectors including energy. At the India-EU Leaders Meeting held in Porto in May 2021, the EU and India agreed to deepen cooperation to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy, promote energy efficiency, develop smart grids and storage technologies and modernize the electricity market. The leaders looked forward to the adoption of a new work programme to step up cooperation in deploying innovative renewable technologies such as offshore wind energy, exploiting potential of green hydrogen, electrification of transport sector, improving efficiency of cold chain sector etc.

The Energy Panel Meeting established by the 5th India-EU Summit in 2004, is the most important mechanism to steer our cooperation in the energy sector and clean energy transition.

Under the structure of the Energy Panel Meeting and the three Joint Working Groups on Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency, Smart Grids and Electricity Markets and Energy Security, we are exploring several areas of cooperation between India and the EU for improving energy efficiency, technology tie-ups, greater investment flows and joint R&D activities.

Since the last Energy Panel Meeting in 2016, India has come a long way in its journey of transitioning towards cleaner and more sustainable sources of energy, improving energy efficiency and channeling investments towards climate friendly energy options.

Today’s meeting assumes additional significance as it is happening in the backdrop of the recently concluded COP 26 Summit in Glasgow, where our Prime Minister announced a 5 point ambitious agenda for India to combat climate change, including i) an increase in India’s non-fossil energy capacity to 500 GW by 2030, ii) meeting 50 % of our energy requirements from renewable energy by 2030, iii) reducing total projected carbon emissions by one billion tonnes from now till 2030, iv) reducing the carbon intensity of our economy to less than 45 % by 2030 and v) to achieve the target of Net Zero by 2070.

India has already started working towards these targets. We are the only major economy which is on track to meet its Paris Commitments and have voluntarily agreed to do more. While we have enhanced our commitments considerably, flow of additional resources, climate financing and technologies is equally important. As highlighted by our Prime Minister at COP-26, we expect developed countries to meet their commitments on climate finance at the earliest.

Today, India ranks 4th in the world in installed renewable energy capacity, 4th in Wind Power and 5th in Solar Power. India's non-fossil fuel energy has increased by more than 25% in the last 7 years and now it has reached 40% of our energy mix. In the last 7 years, the renewable energy capacity has increased by 3 times and solar capacity has increased by 17 times.

In terms of policy reforms in the domestic energy sector, I would like to highlight a few:

  • India has come out with a scheme for development of Solar Parks with a target capacity of 40,000 MW and 51 solar parks have been sanctioned already.
  • At least one city in each state is to be developed as a solar city.
  • The second phase of Rooftop Solar Programme is under implementation, with a target of achieving cumulative capacity of 40 GW from Rooftop Solar (RTS) Projects by 2022.
  • Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for high efficiency solar PV modules aims to achieve manufacturing capacity of Giga Watt (GW) scale.
  • Green Energy Corridor Programme aims at synchronizing electricity produced from renewable energy sources with conventional power in the grid.
  • India is focused to move towards a gas-based economy which will be achieved by promoting free gas markets in synchronization with creation of gas infrastructure for increasing gas share in primary energy mix to 15% by 2030. Ongoing projects will facilitate One Nation, One-Gas Grid connecting all corners of India.
  • We are also adopting clean mobility solutions with greater use of LNG as a transportation fuel.
  • A huge campaign of Waste to Wealth has been undertaken. We are boosting the rural economy by waste-to-wealth generation under the Sustainable Alternative Towards Affordable Transportation (SATAT) initiative.
  • We are setting up 5000 compressed biogas (CBG) plants by 2024 with a production target of 15 MMT and an investment of about 20 billion dollars.
  • We have advanced our target of 20 % ethanol blending in petrol to 2025. We are also targeting 5% blending of bio-diesel in diesel by 2030.
  • As part of India’s commitment to reduce its carbon footprint, India has launched BS VI fuels (leapfrog transition from BS-IV to BS-VI), which is a reflection of our commitment to reduce vehicular pollution and ensure a cleaner India.
On 15 August 2021, Prime Minister Modi launched the National Hydrogen Mission aimed at making India a global hub for the production and export of green hydrogen. This will help India to progress towards energy self-reliance and Clean Energy Transition. The Mission has a target of ~1 million tonnes annual green hydrogen production by 2030.

India seeks to establish a strong partnership with the EU, which can contribute to India’s goal of transition to clean energy. We invite European companies to make use of the increased focus on Green Hydrogen. I would like to propose that under the Framework of Clean Energy and Climate Partnership, we explore concrete proposals on collaboration between India and the EU and that we work towards a Green Hydrogen Alliance at the next India-EU Summit. The JWG on Renewable Energy may discuss this proposal and present a joint declaration for adoption at the next high level Summit.

The India-EU Clean Energy and Climate Partnership adopted in 2016 also includes under it a High Level Dialogue on Climate Change, which last met in April 2021. Both our sides should work together to ensure greater synergy between the Energy Panel Meeting and the High Level Dialogue on Climate Change.

In our joint declaration on Clean Energy and Climate Partnership, we agreed to actively support business-to-business dialogues, in clean energy and energy efficiency technologies. I would propose that we include a business segment in the next Energy Panel Meeting through which we can encourage private sector participation in our joint activities. This can ensure ownership and better off-take of the best practices, training and new technologies that are discussed under the Framework of this Energy Panel.

India’s renewable energy deployment plans for the next decade are likely to generate business prospects of the order of around US$ 20 billion per year. This is a tremendous opportunity to invest in projects, manufacturing, and new technologies like battery storage and hydrogen energy.

During COP 26, India also launched the Green Grids Initiative-One Sun One World One Grid (GGI-OSOWOG) with UK. A consortium led by EDF of France has been chosen as the consultant for creating a road-map and institutional framework of OSOWOG. I reiterate our Prime Minister’s invitation to the EU and its Member States to join OSOWOG.

India is also spearheading the Leadership Group for Industry Transition (LeadIT) along with Sweden. In order to include the "hard-to-abate sectors" like steel, cement, and heavy-duty transport under LeadIT, we may explore how energy generated from renewable sources may be utilised in these sectors, through cutting-edge green hydrogen and storage technologies. With its technological expertise, the EU is ideally poised to partner with India in this area, where we can explore technological collaborations.

I am also happy to note the collaboration between India and The Netherlands on advanced bio-refineries under the Framework of Mission Innovation announced at COP 26.

Under the Green Strategic Partnership with Denmark, wind turbines are being manufactured in India and we are exploring setting up offshore wind energy projects with them. Denmark is also collaborating on waste to energy projects. With the collaboration of Finland, India is setting up the first of its kind bio- refinery in Assam which will produce bio-ethanol from bamboo waste. With Italy we have recently signed a strategic partnership on energy transition which covers cooperation in a wide range of areas including smart grids, storage solutions, promoting natural gas, integrated waste management, green hydrogen, bio- refineries etc. Italian companies are already working in the solar energy and waste to energy sectors. Under the Indo-German Solar Energy Partnership approximately Euro 1 billion has been committed.

These are just a few examples of the collaborations that are taking place with various EU countries and the opportunities that lie ahead.

The work programme that we will deliberate and adopt today contains 47 activities covering 20 activities in Renewable Energy, 16 activities in Energy Efficiency, Smart Grids and Electricity Markets and 11 activities in Energy Security. We have also completed 15 other activities in areas such as rooftop solar, offshore wind and a discussion on green hydrogen pilot projects.

The new Work Programme has been developed based on discussions carried out in the three JWGs. I look forward to the presentations by the three JWGs, and the proposals which would be taken up under them.

I urge our teams to take forward this significant collaboration on energy and involve other stake-holders also, so that we can reflect our high ambitions in this area in the Work Programme as well as the outcomes of the joint activities.

Thank You

 

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