According to reports, the Union Cabinet is likely to clear this week a key agreement on renewable energy which is expected to be signed between the ministry of renewable energy and the US department of energy to give “energy access” to thousands of rural households via solar power.
India and the US have already been collaborating on a number of renewable energy projects with surprising success. Officials said while India and the US remain far apart on climate change, on renewable energy there is almost a meeting of minds. For example, since 2009, DoE and India’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have been collaborating on solar resource assessment and mapping, on photovoltaic modules and developing mini-grids.
India and the US had resolved to promote renewable energy in their umbrella agreement in November 2009. The two countries have development two programmes called PACE — which has a research component and a deployment component. While the two countries work together on wind energy and bio-fuels, the promise of solar energy is the greatest in a country like India.
According to official figures, around 400 million people in India have no access to commercial electricity. According to current rates of growth, even by 2030, there will be several millions in India without access to electricity. The idea therefore is to look for leap-frogging solutions with renewable energy sources.