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Fast PACE: Centre to focus on clean, green energy

The Economic Times:  November, 2010

New Delhi: The US and India took a concrete step to actualise the Green Partnership that they agreed to nearly a year ago. On Monday, US President barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced the setting up of Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Centre.

“We agreed to deepen our cooperation and pursuit of clean energy technologies , and this includes the creation of a new clean energy research centre here in India and continuing our joint research into solar, biofuels , shale gas and building efficiency,” President Obama said in his opening statement at the joint press conference.

The proposed centre is part of the Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE), which forms the core of the “green partnership”. Funding for the centre is expected from national budgets and the private sector. Each government proposes to commit $25 million over the next five years. Other partners in the centre would be expected to make equal contribution. The aim is to drive collaboration between government laboratories, universities, and businesses.

Stressing that the partnership in clean energy would benefit both countries, President Obama said, “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.”

The two countries have also agreed to “new” partnerships, including forestry and sustainable development of land to “help meet the commitments we made at Copenhagen to combat climate change”. Forestry is an important prong of India’s efforts to deal with climate change, given the carbon sink potential of forests. India has formulated a Green India mission as part of its National Action Plan for Climate Change.