India and US launch $95 million clean energy projects

Source: The Economic Times, Nov 14, 2016

WASHINGTON: The US today announced two financial projects worth USD 95 million in India to bring more energy-efficient appliances to rural sector, as part of its efforts to continue the global transition to zero-and-low carbon energy sources.

The US has committed USD 70 million in Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) financing for renewable energy projects in India; and announced to launch a USD 20 million partnership this week with the philanthropic sector to bring more efficient appliances to rural Indian villages.

The USD 75 million OPIC financing is for a utility-scale PV project in Telangana.

It is sponsored by ReNew Power Ventures.

This commitment represents the rapid mobilisation of financing under a USD 250 million facility to support up to 400 MW of new solar power projects in India across multiple states, the White House said.

Further the OPIC and Indian Government will this week formally launch a USD 20 million distributed solar facility in partnership with leading philanthropies, it said.

Known as US-India Clean Energy Finance program (USICEF), it will address a key financing gap in the Indian distributed solar market by funding early-stage project preparatory work, it said.

USICEF is anticipated to unlock up to USD 400 million in long-term debt financing from OPIC and private sector investors, the White House said.

According to the White House fact sheet, the Rockefeller Foundation’s Smart Power for Rural Development Initiative is also announcing a new partnership with the Clean Energy Ministerial’s (CEM) Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP) to accelerate the deployment and use of energy efficient off-grid devices in rural India.

The US Department of State will, subject to Congressional notification, provide funding for Global LEAP to support the development and roll out of a programme to deploy energy- efficient devices such as televisions, fans, and refrigerators at selected Smart Power supported mini-grid sites, the White House said.

It will also develop a strategy for a programme-wide scale-up targeted to reduce energy costs for some of the poorest people in India.

“When deployed it is expected to reduce energy consumption by over 50 per cent for rural households, increase revenue for mini-grid operators by over 300 per cent per household, and generate rural employment for people involved in distribution and supply chain management of the devices,” it said.

Noting that the US President Barack Obama’s leadership has catalyzed a global transition towards a clean energy economy, the White House said from 2010-2015 alone, the US has invested in more than USD 11 billion in international clean energy finance.

At the same time, the US has made research and development a top priority.

Key achievements include establishing Mission Innovation (MI), with the leaders of 19 countries, to accelerate innovation by doubling public investment in clean energy research and development to USD 30 billion over five years.

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