US and India: Partners for Solar Energy
Earlier this week, President Obama and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced an agreement to build a joint clean energy research and development center in New Delhi.
The center will concentrate on improving clean energies and "the initial priority areas will be focusing on solar energy, second general bio-fuels, and building efficiency" according to the Daily News & Analysis. The Center was the subject of one of six agreements signed during President Obama's 3 day visit to India. As to highlight the importance of energy on the international agenda, three of the six agreements signed related to energy.
An agreement was also signed to "establish an India-US Energy Cooperation Program. This program has three primary features: to promote the use of clean energy and energy efficiency businesses; to mobilize private sector expertise and resources on energy-related issues in both India and the US; and to fund studies and related project development work on clean and efficient energy best practices" according to Solar Novus Today.
The agreements are an example of the Partnership to Advance Clean Energy and each country will give $5 million annually over the next five years to the Joint Clean Energy Center. President Obama believes both countries will benefit from this agreement and stated "we can pursue joint research and development to create green jobs; give Indians more access to cleaner, affordable energy; meet the commitments we made at Copenhagen; and show the possibilities of low-carbon growth" according to The Economic Times.
This was a strategic move for the U.S. because the agreement "comes at a time when India has proposed to increase its nuclear capacity to 63,000 MW by 2032 from the present level of 4,560 MW. Besides, under the National Solar Mission, the country has planned solar capacity addition of 20,000 MW by 2022" according to STEELGURU. The United States consumes an enormous amount of fossil fuels, however "India has one of the lowest power-consumption rates per capita in the world" according to TFTS.
With a population of 1.2 billion and an economy growing by 8.5 percent in 2010, India's importance globally is starting to be recognized. President Obama recognized India's strategic importance when he "backed India's bid to gain a permanent seat on the UN Security Council" according to BBC. The U.S. and India relationship strengthens when "President Obama also eased export restrictions on high technology goods to India, strengthening U.S.-India security and private sector ties in the process" according to 2point6billion.com. Only the future will tell whether the agreements will benefit clean energy.