Clean energy experts and institutions in India are buzzing with enthusiasm about continuing collaboration on energy efficiency, solar energy, and biofuels as critical components of the bilateral clean energy program – PACE (Partnership to Advance Clean Energy). As PACE-R (the research arm) moves on to its next phase, both countries are preparing for the proposal due under PACE-D (the deployment arm).
Under PACE-R, both countries launched the Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center earlier this year. The Center will fund joint clean energy projects by Indo-U.S. consortia in three priority areas: solar energy, energy efficiency in buildings and second-generation biofuels, with a total funding pool of $100 million ($25 million each from the two governments, and another $50 million in matching funds from applicants). The Center solicited grant applications over the summer and several highly-qualified expert consortiums have formed in all three areas.
NRDC and our partners ASCI and CEEW helped disseminate information about the grants, encouraged relevant individuals and groups to apply, and worked to draw some of the top talent in both countries into this pioneering effort. We brought together over 100 scientific institutions and private companies focused on advancing clean energy research in growing economies, like India. We are pleased to learn that the Center’s Secretariats received a large number of proposals, exceeding their expectations. There was exceptionally high interest in biofuels and building energy efficiency, and a good response for solar energy projects too. The Center moved on to the next stage of reviewing applications for compliance and eligibility, and will soon commence the merit review process. Depending on the length of merit review, final grants could be expected by the year’s end.
PACE-D, next on the anvil, launched its own solicitation process for clean energy technologies, systems and processes. Programs supported by PACE-D will focus more on deployment, commercialization and market access. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) will administer PACE – D, emphasizing energy efficiency, renewable energy, and cleaner fossil fuels. Available funds are in the range of $21-$24 million, which is much lower than the anticipated $50 million announced earlier this year. Contracts awarded under PACE-D are expected to accelerate India’s transition to a high performing, low emissions and energy secure economy. The focus is to create and enable an environment with strengthened policy and regulatory institutions, increased finance and enhanced institutional and human capacity.
As U.S. and Indian leaders emphasized earlier this summer during the annual Strategic Dialogue, both countries remain committed to ongoing efforts to address climate change, ensuring mutual energy security, and building a clean energy economy that will drive investment, job creation, and economic growth throughout the 21st century. We look forward to effective implementation of both PACE-R and PACE-D, and hope that they will produce significant results, becoming successful models for future bilateral clean energy efforts.
(Co-Authored by Shravya Reddy)