New Delhi: The Climate Group in association with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Clean Energy Access Network (CLEAN), India's first countrywide network for decentralized energy practitioners and South Asia Network for Clean Energy (StANCE) today hosted the first ever national summit for India’s off-grid energy sector.
The business opportunity for renewable energy and off-grid solutions in India is increasingly significant. It will not only help connect rural communities to clean energy but will also address issues of development and emissions reductions challenges in one of the fastest-growing countries in the world. Business, finance and policy leaders came together at the summit to share their vision for this low carbon future, including Svati Bhogle, Chairperson, CLEAN; H.E. Alphonsus Stoelinga, Ambassador of the Netherlands to India; H.E. Richard R. Verma, Ambassador of the United States to India; Ashvin Dayal, Associate Vice President and Managing Director (Asia), Rockefeller Foundation; Giles Bristow, Director of Programmes, Forum for the Future; Harish Hande, Chief Executive Officer, SELCO Foundation and Co-founder SELCO India; Prema Gopalan, Executive Director, Swayam Shikshan Prayog and Vikram Gandhi, Founder, Asha Impact.
During his key note address Shri Upendra Tripathy, Secretary, MNRE, said, “We are thankful to the organizers for providing a crucial platform crucial discussion around renewable energy opportunities and to address the prevailing power crisis issues in India. We must look at the speed, scale and skill for the off-grid energy sector in India as we have even bigger climate & energy efficiency goals lying ahead of us. Off-grid solar solution is a vital part of India’s energy mix as making solar affordable will impact the growth of renewable energy in India in coming years. We call upon YES Bank, The Climate Group and other stake holders to come together and make a definitive action point to address energy deficiency issues by February 2016.”
On the sidelines of the event U.S. Ambassador Richard Verma and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy Secretary Upendra Tripathy announced the investment of $50 million for the “PACEsetter Fund”, to accelerate the commercialization of innovative off-grid clean energy solutions. The PACEsetter Fund is the principal funding arm of Promoting Energy Access through Clean Energy (PEACE), an initiative of the Governments of the United States and India to harness commercial enterprise and bring clean energy access to unserved and underserved individuals and communities.
Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group said, “40% of India is still not connected to the grid – a number we could eventually connect via cheaper, cleaner and more reliable renewable sources. Off-grid energy business models not only have the potential to connect millions of people in India, South Asia and other parts of the world to clean electricity, but also provide them with a platform for moving out of poverty while avoiding the carbon emissions associated with conventional development models.”
Ashis Kumar Sahu, the CEO of CLEAN remarked on the way forward in the closing session of the day saying, "When I was first asked to visit the MNRE on behalf of my former organization, I was at a loss for advice to give policymakers. Now many years later, there is a better sense of the policy and regulatory asks for this sector as well as ideas on how to increase financing, skills and quality standards. CLEAN is happy to have co-organized this summit and we will definitely follow up on the key recommendations brought forth through the summit as we are mandated to do and work toward improving the enabling ecosystem for off-grid clean energy practitioners in India."