US, India to enhance clean energy cooperation

India and the United States signed an MOU to enhance cooperation on energy security, clean energy and climate change, and an MoU on cooperation in gas hydrates.

A joint declaration issued after a meeting of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama said the United States supports the government of India's ambitious national goals to install 175 GW of renewable power which includes 100 GW from solar power.

The US also welcomed the launch of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) in view of the critical role it can play in the development and deployment of solar power, and proposed to pursue membership in the ISA.

The United States and India will jointly launch the third Initiative of the ISA, which will focus on off-grid solar for energy access at the Founding Conference of ISA in September, 2016 in India. The United States also committed itself along with other nations to the goal of jointly mobilising $100 billion per year by 2020 to address the needs of developing countries in the context of meaningful mitigation and adaptation action.

On its part the US offered to bring to bear its technical capacity, resources and private sector, and jointly launch with India new efforts, to spur greater investment in India's renewable energy sector, including efforts that can serve as a model for other ISA member countries.

In particular, the United States and India announced a new clean energy collaboration involving:

  • The creation of a $20 million US-India Clean Energy Finance (USICEF) initiative, equally supported by the United States and India, which is expected to mobilise up to $400 million to provide clean and renewable electricity to up to 1 million households by 2020;
  • A commitment to establish the US-India Clean Energy Hub as the coordinating mechanism to focus US government efforts that, in partnership with leading Indian financial institutions, will increase renewable energy investment in India;
  • A $40-million US-India Catalytic Solar Finance Programme, equally supported by the United States and India, that, by providing needed liquidity to smaller-scale renewable energy investments, particularly in poorer, rural villages that are not connected to the grid, could mobilise up to $1 billion of projects; the expansion of handholding support to Indian utilities that are scaling up rooftop solar and continuation of successful cooperation with USAID on "Greening the Grid''.

The US and India also committed themselves to the goals of Mission Innovation, which they jointly launched during COP-21 in Paris to double their respective clean energy research and development (R&D) investment in five years.

Toward this end, the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to cooperate on research and development, including through the announcement of an upcoming $30 million public-private research effort in smart grid and grid storage.