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The first Swiss-India Renewable ENergy (SIREN) Symposiumwas was held at Rolex Learning Center, EPFL Lausanne from 19-20 November 2015. Mr. Piyush Goyal, Hon’ble Minister of NRE addressed the audience. Dr. Claude Begle, Member of the Swiss Parliament and former member of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs also spoke on the occasion. Dr. Pankaj Agarwal, chairman of the SIREN Symposium and Ms. Smita Purushottam, the Indian Ambassador to Switzerland and other team members from the organization viz. Swiss-India Business Forum, Office of Energy and other distinguished persons, associated with this Symposium were present on this occasion.
Mr Piyush Goel’s speech
Swiss India Renewable ENergy Symposium (SIREN)
November 19-20, 2015, Rolex Learning Center, EPFL
Address by Mr. Piyush Goyal, Hon’ble Minister of NRE
I am delighted to know about the Swiss India Renewable ENergy Symposium being held in Switzerland and like to congratulate Dr. Pankaj Agarwal, chairman of the SIREN Symposium and Ms. Smita Purushottam, the Indian Ambassador to Switzerland and all other team members from the organization like Swiss-India Business Forum, Office of Energy and other distinguished persons who are associated with this Symposium. My very best wishes for its grand success. I am unfortunately not able to join you on this occasion but my colleagues will be there and I am sure all of you together will come up with a framework which will help strengthen and further relations between Switzerland and India, particularly in the renewable energy field.
It think it is very important to recognize the importance of innovation, research and development, and a symposium being held at the Innovation Park by the Swiss Institute of Technology which I believe is among the world’s most premier technology universities - is most appropriate. I am sure SIREN will bring together innovation from Switzerland, may be capital also from your country, in the vast Indian opportunity, the big market that India provides, particularly in the renewable energy space. When we put all these together it provides for an excellent opportunity not only for business but also for our shared concerns to address the problems of climate change. There is a very complementary mix between the world’s largest renewable energy market today and probably one of the world’s most capital surplus countries that Switzerland is.
I am sure this platform that you have created will bring together different stakeholders - business-Industry players, financiers, decision makers, policy makers, and representatives of research and development. I am sure when everyone comes together on one platform, new ideas will germinate, new thoughts will come up. I would certainly very much look forward to receiving the outcomes of this Symposium, particularly the learnings that come out of it which will help us further develop our renewable energy program in a more sustainable manner. I am sure the focus of the Symposium, amongst other things, will also be on bringing the cost of solar energy down to more affordable levels.
I would think it is very critical that we reach grid parity of renewable energy also and our recent bidding procurement of solar power through a reverse bidding process has discovered a very attractive price of about 7 US cents. I am fairly confident that in the years to come we will see more and more solar power becoming available at very attractive prices. Higher productivity, lower cost of capital innovation, new technologies - all of these I think can help to bring together a package which will make renewable energy, particularly As you are all aware, India has taken a very leadership role in addressing the concerns of climate change - and the renewable energy program of achieving an installed capacity base of 175GW is unprecedented in world history. Going forward, we plan to invest and set up 100 GW of solar energy and another 60 GW of wind power in which we already have about 23 GW, so will be adding another 35-37 GW; and then we will have about 5000 MW of hydropower, about 10000 MW of biomass and other associated forms of energy. Overall, this 175 GW of renewable energy probably provides the world’s largest business opportunity in this space available today.
Of course, we as policy makers as well as Govt. of India are addressing typical concerns of investors.
We are ensuring that land is available.
If approved about 25 solar parks where land will be made available.
Green energy corridors will be set up to evacuate the power through dedicated transmission corridors.
We are ensuring counter party risks are addressed particularly, by introducing AAA companies like NTPC, India’s largest power utility owned by the Govt. of India or Solar Energy Corporation of India to procure the power, thereby almost eliminating any counter party risk, bringing down the cost of debt particularly in an environment where overall Indian debt now is available cheaper.
We also permit foreign direct investment upto 100% in this space.
We also allow liberal borrowing of foreign currency loans to invest in renewable energy. All in all, the effort of the Govt. is to play the role of an enabler to ensure the success of this massive project that we have undertaken.
The Govt. is also supporting renewable energy through a clean energy cess. We apply a cess of about US$ 3.30 on every tone of coal that is produced in the country and that goes into a National Clean Energy Fund which will then be used to provide enabling infrastructure sometime some affirmatives, subsidy support for the green energy and renewable energy to prosper in India.
As we plan, we may easily look at a bid process of about 15 GW particularly in solar coming out every year in the next 4 or 5 years which will really help us to scale up this project, and coupled with this bidding we are ensuring adequate availability of the enabling infrastructure - also land, transmission (etc).
We are focusing on skill development. We see a million jobs being created out of this massive roll out of renewable energy. We have a Sectorial Skill Council which is focusing on developing future engineers for the renewable energy sector and, of course, distribution companies in India are also undergoing a massive financial restricting which will make our distribution companies much stronger, improve the offtake of renewable energy, particularly on the back of policy interventions where we are mandating that in the years to come renewable energy will form a significant portion of every distribution company’s energy purchase.
In fact, we are proposing to mandate approx. 8% of the total energy consumed by distribution companies should be through renewable energy sources by 2022 and we are fairly confident that all these initiatives put together will help us truly create a world class infrastructure and promote renewable energy in a very big way.
We are also making regulatory interventions to encourage large scale roll-out of the installed renewable energy base, particularly, as a supplement to fossil fuel based power plants that are coming up.
Also the regulatory commissions at the federal level, at each of the States level, is setting up the requisite framework which will help renewable energy be rolled out much faster including feed in tariffs to encourage waste to wealth and waste to energy plans. Feed in tariffs in initial period for hydro projects, cost plus basis tariffs for hydro projects, for wind energy projects until we can at a later stage take them also to the bidding process.
I am delighted to inform the participants of your Symposium that India and France have taken a leadership position in encouraging an International Solar Alliance. Our Hon. Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, has been deeply passionate about solar energy. In fact, when the world talk about truth and that related to the serious concerns on climate change, PM Modi, then Chief Minister of Gujarat, had promptly come up with his theory - articulating his vision which he titled “Convenient Action” and ever since even while he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, he has been promoting renewable energy. He has been in the forefront of helping entrepreneurs set up solar plants, wind energy plants and today as PM of the country, he has rolled out a big vision for renewable energy which he also wants to encourage other countries around the world to take forward. Therefore, we are proposing an alliance of over a 100 nations from around the world, particularly the countries that fall between the Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn. All the countries within these two tropics are being encouraged to come together and under the auspices of an International Solar Alliance, which will be a coalition of solar resource rich countries for the development of solar energy and technology, and the application of this technology to further promote solar energy in the world. This International Solar Alliance will be instrumental in providing enhanced understanding of the role that solar energy can play, particularly in providing energy to countries in Africa and countries in other developing nations and for rural areas in the developing world. We hope to launch the international alliance on the sidelines of the COP 21 Summit which will take place in Paris later this month and the Hon’ble PM of India, Mr. Narendra Modi, and the Hon. President of France, President Hollande will be jointly announcing the formation of this international solar energy alliance in Paris later this month.
I am sure, by now many of you would have the opportunity to see the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, the INDCs that India has put forth on 2nd Oct., the birth date of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi, who himself was very passionate about protecting the environment, who himself was very conscious of preserving nature. And it’s a very good omen that on his birthday India has announced very very aggressive, bold and ambitious INDCs, which have been widely applauded around the world, particularly our efforts despite being at the cusp of the development cycle - to bring down the carbon emission and intensity of our economy by 33 to 35% over the 2005 level by 2030.
This massive pledge to bring down carbon emission intensity by about 1/3 within the next few years is indeed one of the largest challenges before the nation and the massive roll out of the renewable energy to 175 GW is a part of our efforts and a part of our contribution towards global effort to reduce carbon emissions, reduce dependence on fossil fuel, improving the energy security of India and be a part of the global effort to bring down the greenhouse gas emission.
We also plan to roll up the share of non-fossil fuel energy installed capacity to about 40% of our total capacity by 2030. These INDCs reflect India’s cultural heritage and our tradition of living in harmony in nature which we inherited over the years.
In fact, it’s very appropriate that this symposium today is being held in Switzerland, a countries which has led the global initiative on renewable energy. I am given to understand that almost the entire energy needs of Switzerland are met by non-fossil fuel based energy sources and I must extend my compliments to the Govt. of Switzerland and to the people of Switzerland for this outstanding achievement.
I am sure Switzerland can provide technology, can provide large amounts of capital, can provide debt, equity and encourage similar efforts by other developing countries like India and we would seek to enhance the partnership between Switzerland and India to take renewable energy to the next level in India and be a part of the global initiatives to address concerns of climate change.
I am sure, together Switzerland and India can promote renewable energy which, as my Prime Minister said, is an article of faith for him personally and for his Government and I am sure Switzerland and India together can show the world that we will leave behind a better planet for the future generations.
Once again, my best wishes for the grand success of the seminar, this symposium, being held in Switzerland today.
‘The first Swiss-India Renewable ENergy Symposium (SIREN) was honoured to have a message from Shri Piyush Goyal, Hon’ble Minister for Power and New & Renewable Energy, Government of India. The text of his address is given here.
The Swiss India Business Forum (SIBF) under the direction of Dr. Pankaj Agarwal, Conference Chairman and Member of the SIBF Board, organized the first Swiss SIREN Symposium at the Swiss Innovation Park, EPFL Lausanne, Switzerland onMembers of the Swiss Indian Chamber of Commerce (SICC) Board and various other leading organizations supported this promotional event to bring India and Switzerland together in a sector which is not only key to their national energy strategies but also extremely important from the climate change point of view.
The Symposium was also addressed by Dr. Claude Begle, Member of the Swiss Parliament and former member of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, whose career has spanned 14 different countries and many sectors.
Dr. Claude Begle started his career in India and has worked in 14 different countries. His presence was warmly welcomed as was his address. Dr. Begle in addressing the Symposium reminded the participants that their work was extremely important for the future. Stating that Switzerland had very few natural resources and its strength lay in remaining open and building win-win partnerships - he stressed that India should be one of Switzerland’s win-win partnerships. He recalled that the Chairman of the ECB had stated that the US was ahead ofEurope because of its induction of talented Indians. Switzerland needed to build those bridges too. It was important for the political agenda to be focussed on the energy and the environment and redouble efforts towards this goal. It was important to increase resources available for tackling environmental and emissions issues. He stated that Switzerland had developed many interesting technologies with the focus on energy efficiency since it had already reached the goal of energy for all. He underlined the cooperation between the private sector and universities in launching innovative ideas through the Swiss Centres for Excellence.
He concluded by stating that he had a lot of sympathy for India as he started his career in Indiaand he loved its people. He was impressed with the openness of society, diversity of opinion, the freedom of the Press, and the progress of the private sector. He recounted his experience in running an IT incubator in Bangalore and the talented Indians he had met there. He had been impressed by the creativity of Indians.
He stressed the need for India and Switzerland to work together and pool our talent for smarter outcomes. He said that Switzerland was good at generating innovation and ideas and Indians were good at implementation and the two were complementary. He urged that we leapfrog together to the next technological level. He suggested that we should have joint incubators and joint development centres. He stated that Switzerland had greater expertise in dams, hydropower capacity, capital intensive plants, smart grids, energy storage, waste management and the circular economy. He urged that we should join forces at the R&D and entrepreneur level - marrying the strengths of the two countries in an area important for mankind.