India, ASEAN discuss ways of reducing dependence on fossil fuels

India and countries of Southeast Asia are looking at ways of reducing their dependence on fossil fuels whose rising prices have acted as the biggest deterrent to global economic growth and development.

The two sides are holding a workshop of experts in the field ahead of a meeting of energy ministers of India and the ASEAN starting on 7 November so as to identify the institutions for establishing long-term cooperation between India and the ASEAN.

India and the ASEAN are looking at sharing experience in the field of new and renewable energy production and its deployment as they increase cooperation in the field.

Speaking at the inaugural session, Gireesh Pradhan, secretary, ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE), said ASEAN and India have completed 20 years of partnership. As a full dialog partner of ASEAN Countries for about two decades and also as member of the ASEAN Regional Forum, India seeks larger cooperation with ASEAN member countries in the renewable energy area. The Cebu Declaration on East Asian Energy Security of 2007 has already laid the foundation for ASEAN-India cooperation in renewable energy, he said.

India, he said, has a present installed capacity for renewable power of over 26,000 MW, about 12.5 per cent of the total installed power generation capacity in the country, adding that the aim was to achieve about 55,000 MW of renewable power by 2017, ie, by the end of the current 5-year plan.

India's renewable energy programme, he said, is primarily private sector driven and offers significant investment and business opportunities. The government is encouraging foreign investors to set up renewable power projects on 'build own operate' basis with 100 per cent foreign direct investment and he invited the investors from the ASEAN member countries to invest in renewable energy sector in India.