US-India Strategic Energy Partnership

  • 21 Jul 2020

  • On July, 17, 2020, India and the USA have participated in a virtual ministerial meeting of the US-India Strategic Energy Partnership (SEP) to review progress, highlight major accomplishments, and prioritize new areas for cooperation.
  • India and the US are leading joint research and development (R&D) through Partnership toAdvance Clean Energy-Research (PACE-R) on smart grids and energy storage to increase resilience and reliability of the electric grid.

Major Outcomes of the Meeting

Enhancing Energy Security

  • A Memorandum of Understanding (Mou) has been signed to begin cooperation on Strategic Petroleum Reserves operation and maintenance, including exchange of information and best practices.

Harnessing Innovation

  • A public-private Hydrogen Task Force would be set up to help scale up technologies to produce hydrogen from renewable energy and fossil fuel sources.
  • They also signed an MOU to collaborate on India’s first-ever Solar Decathlon India in 2021, establishing a collegiate competition to prepare the next generation of building professionals to design and build high efficiency buildings powered by renewables.
  • The two sides jointly launched collaboration between the U.S. DOE National labs and the Indian National Institutes as part of the newly launched South Asia Group for Energy (SAGE).

Modernising the Power System

  • It has been agreed to modernize the Distribution Sector through various reform measures for achieving reliable quality 24X7 power supply.
  • This will be achieved through increased private participation; enhancing consumer centricity; deployment of Smart Meters across India; and, establishing Smart Grid Knowledge Centre in India as a “Global Centre of Excellence” for Smart Grids.
  • The sides agreed to collaborate on advanced high-efficiency coal technologies with low-to-zero emissions through carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS), focusing on USDOE’s Coal FIRST (Flexible, Innovative, Resilient, Small, Transformative) initiative to develop 21st Century coal energy systems.

Enhancing Energy Efficiency

  • The United States and India have been working to enhance building an appliance efficiency through enhanced building codes, design and operation of smart buildings of the future, smart meters and demand side response, as well as retrofit of buildings to improve building performance, promote energy conservation, and improve in-door air quality.
  • Both sides are also working to enhance energy efficiency in the industrial sector and will work to advance a comprehensive energy management system in accordance with ISO50001.
  • In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, USAID and Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) jointly initiated a new activity, “Retrofit of Air Conditioning to Improve Air Quality for Safety and Efficiency” (RAISE) for healthy and energy efficient buildings. The initiative will be scaled in public sector buildings.

Promoting Energy Trade and Investment

  • The sides noted the significant increase in bilateral hydrocarbon trade since the establishment of SEP and affirmed to promote greater hydrocarbon trade between the two countries.
  • Through the US-India Natural Gas Task Force,S.and Indian industry forged new commercial partnerships on innovative projects and developed a series of policy and regulatory recommendations to support the Government of India’s vision to increase the share of natural gas in India’s energy sector.
  • Commitment to advance civil nuclear cooperation e. recent progress on the Westinghouse (USA’s Electric Company) nuclear reactor project at Kovvada, Andhra Pradesh were also discussed.

Promoting Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Growth

  • USAID and NITI Aayog jointly launched the India Energy Modeling Forum to build a network of modeling community and its linkage with Government for analytical work and policy making exercise.

Empowering Women in the Energy Sector

  • USAID launched the South Asia Women in Energy (SAWIE) platform focused on the power sector and the sides are working to incorporate gender-focused activities across the technical pillars.

Strategic Energy Partnership (SEP) 

  • Established in April 2018, SEP recognises the strategic importance of energy to the US-India bilateral relationship.
  • Build upon long-standing energy partnership, SEP sets the stage for meaningful engagements through robust government-to-government cooperation and industry engagement.

Focus Areas

It focuses on 4 pillars of cooperation -

  • Power and Energy Efficiency
  • Oil and Gas
  • Renewable Energy
  • Sustainable Growth

Through these pillars both countries are working to

  • strengthen and modernize the power grid and distribution utilities for clean, affordable, and reliable energy access;
  • improve efficiency, flexibility, and environmental performance in the power sector;
  • promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth through long-term energy development;
  • enhance energy security through oil and gas trade, and infrastructure investment;
  • advance the development, deployment, and integration of renewable energy;
  • expand access to finance for renewable energy projects; and
  • reduce market barriers to energy trade and investment.

India Energy Modeling Forum

  • In the joint working group meeting of the Sustainable Growth Pillar on July 2, 2020, an India Energy Modeling Forum was launched.
  • Sustainable Growth Pillar is an important pillar of India–US Strategic Energy Partnership co-chaired by NITI Aayog and USAID.
  • The SG pillar entails energy data management, energy modelling and collaboration on low carbon technologies as three key activities.

Aims and Objectives

  •  Provide a platform to examine important energy and environmental related issues;
  • Improve cooperation between modelling teams, government, and knowledge partners, funders;
  • Facilitate exchange of ideas, ensure production of high-quality studies;
  • Identify knowledge gaps at different levels and across different areas; and
  • Build capacity of Indian institutions.