June 13, 2023
Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources, U.S. Department of Energy
Chief Business Officer, Tata Cleantech Capital Ltd.
Director of Lockeed Martin Energy, Lockheed Martin
Founder and CEO, BowerGroupAsia
Amid rising fuel and commodity prices, India is prioritizing energy security and a transition to clean energy to support sustainable development. During the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s 48th annual India Ideas Summit, private and public sector leaders discussed how India and the U.S. can identify and execute innovative pathways to energy security amid their transition to a net zero future.
The U.S.-India Energy Partnership Remains Committed to Collaboration
Geoff Pyatt, the Assistant Secretary for the U.S. Bureau of Energy Resources, aims to ensure that the United States is India's preferred partner on issues of energy transition.
“There will be no more important country in the world in terms of driving global energy demand over the next few decades — between now and 2050 — than India,” said Pyatt.
Pyatt noted that the U.S. and India are also focusing on similar goals surrounding a clean-energy future, including green hydrogen, carbon sequestration, and the expansion of electric vehicles.
“There is such extraordinary potential for us to deepen our partnership on all of the issues around energy transition,” finished Pyatt. “The United States is very supportive of Prime Minister Modi's ambitious goals for renewable energy generation.”
Private Sector Companies Can Match Solutions to Energy Storage Problems
Craig Husa, Director of Lockheed Martin Energy, emphasized the opportunities and challenges of private company involvement in the U.S.-India energy security industry.
“When you look at something such as energy storage … the solution has to match the problem, and … there’s a variety of use cases with that,” said Husa. “Ultimately, different solutions may be necessary for different applications.”
These use cases may include microgrids, putting batteries on the ends of distressed power lines, and diurnal and seasonal shifting. Husa noted that some of these use cases have clearer revenue streams than others.
“That's where it takes private industry to be able to create the solutions that match the problems,” Husa added. “But it also takes … the combination with government financiers to be able to help share that risk, and share the expertise and resources to build that ecosystem [around] energy transition.”
Companies Can Partner with Government Agencies to Develop Collaborative Projects
Agencies like the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) can have a great impact on the global energy innovation ecosystem, according to USTDA director Enoh Ebong.
“We come in at that early stage where there’s a concept, but it needs to be proven to be able to attract the financing,” she said. “The role for USTDA is a little bit of project sleuth, it’s a little bit of knitting together various parties, and it’s identifying the priorities of the partners on the ground.”
Ebong described a cross-national initiative brought to UTSDA by LanzaTech, a women-led company in the clean energy sphere, in collaboration with the Indian Oil Corporation. LanzaTech had the idea to convert oil refinery waste gases into fuel-grade ethanol, and had secured interest from an engine oil partner — all they needed was a means of proving feasibility.
“That's where USTDA came in and, by grant funding, provided that feasibility study,” explained Ebong. “I think the role of USTDA was … helping to limit the risk. It was helping the parties get what they needed to be able to move the project along.”
Ebong also emphasized the importance of scaling these projects, as well as building on existing needs to ensure projects can come to fruition as intended.
“It’s the responsibility of us in government to be able to catalyze that investment, and showcase what industry can bring to the solution,” she said.
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