U.S. - India Energy Partnership Summit
Fostering Innovations for a Sustainable Future
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Session Summaries


Dinner of Hope
High Level CEO Dialogue
Inaugural Session – Policy Insights to Foster U.S.-India Energy Cooperation
Plenary 1 - Clean Energy Innovation for Mitigating Climate Change
Plenary 2 - Removing Barriers to Technology Transfer
Plenary 3 - Economic Imperatives for Innovation and Opportunities for Business
Plenary 4 - Energy Access for the Bottom of the Pyramid
Concluding Session

High Level CEO Dialogue

  • Moderator: Prof Jeffrey A Sonnenfeld, Senior Associate Dean for Executive Programs & Lester Crown Professor in the Practice of Management, Yale School of Management, Yale University, USA
  • Keynote Address: Mr David J. Hayes , U.S. Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Interior

  • Session I: Economic Imperatives for Business in 21st Century
  • Lead Discussants: Mr Ravi Pandit, Chairman and Group CEO, KPIT Cummins Infosystems Ltd, Dr Terry Yosie, President and CEO, World Environment Center, Mr R V Kanoria, FICCI President & Chairman & Managing Director, Kanoria Chemicals & Industries Ltd, Mr Sushil Kumar Jiwarajka, Chairman & Managing Director, Essjay Ericsson Pvt. Ltd, Mr Leif Andersen, Vice President – Sales, Suzlon Wind Energy Corp, Ms Kathleen Rogers, President of Earth Day Network, Mr Ardeshir Contractor, MD & CEO, Kiran Energy Solar Power Private Limited, Mr Joseph J. Andrew, Chairman of SNR Denton and co-founder and Chairman of TerViva, Ms Kiron Shah, CEO and Managing Director, Velankani Information Systems Bangalore

  • Session II: Challenges & Opportunities for Innovation
  • Lead Discussants: Dr Rajiv Kumar, Secretary General, FICCI, Mr Jigar Shah, CEO of Carbon War Room, Mr Prakash P Hinduja, Chairman, Hinduja Group, Mr Henry Steingass, Regional Director, South and Southeast Asia, Dr R K Malhotra, Director (R&D), Member of the boeard – Indian Oil Corporation Limited, Mr R Michael Gadbaw, Distinguished Senior Fellow and Adjunct Professor, Institute for international Economic Law, Georgetown University Law Center, Mr Ryan Hobert, Deputy Director of the UN Foundation's Climate and Energy Program

    Dr R K Pachauri began by stating that both countries—U.S. and India—are importers of energy. Hence, energy security can only be ensured through innovation. Unless business and industry are at the forefront of this effort, the efforts of the academia and the research fraternity will be inadequate. Dr Richard C Levin reiterated that businesses can emerge as models of sustainable leadership on their own, which is key to building a low-carbon future.

    Prof. Jeffrey Sonnenfeld emphasized upon commerce and conservation, two streams that are coming together rather than being opposed to each other. He also stressed on the need to be ambitious to achieve goals like 30% renewables by 2020. According to Prof. Sonnenfeld, to build an eco-advantage, the approach must be more cost-effective, creative, and advantageous to businesses.

    Speaking from the supply side, Mr Ardeshir Contractor raised concerns about the future of solar energy in India. He said that it would be difficult to develop the solar industry in India with plunging prices and limited materials. He focused on the bias that has entered the solar power market primarily because of the prices as companies want to go solar for economic reasons, even companies not compelled by climate change. The actual push, explained Mr Contractor, is thus coming from the commercial sector in India.

    The perspective from the wind energy sector was presented by Mr Lief Anderson who informed the gathering that the U.S. is currently suffering because they have been unable to formulate and implement sustainable long-term policies on renewable energy.

    Mr David Hayes emphasized on the issue of the production tax credit due to expire at the end of 2012. The prospect that it will not be renewed has hit the wind energy sector hard. He lamented the fact that in the U.S., no energy policy truly encompasses the real costs of energy. While the oil industry enjoys the advantage of inappropriate number of subsidies with record profits, the solar and wind industries need major incentives to get off the ground. Mr Hayes gave the example of California—a state, which was leading the way with regard to renewable portfolio standards, and has the potential to accelerate towards straight-up competition now that solar companies are thriving. He also explained that even though off-shore wind energy is extremely expensive, we should be investing in this technology to create demand.

    Mr R V Kanoria focused on the Renewable Purchase Obligations and Renewable Energy Credits in India, which allow funding for sustainable programmes that would otherwise not be economically feasible. The government does not have to subsidize the programme, just enforce it through the non-subsidy route. He also mentioned that the impact of policy will be very significant in India, and governments can initiate projects that are unique. For example, reverse bidding for solar power has driven the solar energy sector to hit record lows.

    Dr R K Pachauri concluded the session by providing a brief summary on the overall energy situation in India. Coal imports in India are reaching a new high, but if India continues business as usual, in 20 years, the country will have to import 750 million tonnes of oil and 13 million tonnes of coal, which cannot be allowed to actually happen.

Inaugural Session – Policy Insights to Foster U.S.-India Energy Cooperation

  • Moderator: Ambassador Karl F Inderfurth, Senior Adviser and Wadhwani Chair in U.S. - India Policy Studies, CSIS
  • Welcome Address by Co-chairs:
  • Dr Richard C Levin, President, Yale University
  • Dr R K Pachauri, President, TERI-North America
  • Speakers:
  • Dr R Chidambaram, Principal Scientific Adviser, Government of India
  • Nobel Laureate The Honorable Al Gore, Former Vice President of the United States of America (By Video)
  • Mr R V Kanoria, President, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI)
  • Mr Daniel B Poneman, Deputy Secretary of Energy, US Department of Energy
  • HE Ms Nirupama Rao, Ambassador, Embassy of India to the US

Plenary 1 - Clean Energy Innovation for Mitigating Climate Change

  • Moderator: Mr Patrick Butler, Vice President - Programs, International Center for Journalists
  • Keynote Address: Dr John P Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology & Director, Office of Science and Technology Policy, Executive Office of the President
  • Speakers:
  • Ms Linda S Adams, Founding President, R20-Regions of Climate Action; Chairman, Climate Action Reserve & Former Secretary, California Environmental Protection Agency,
  • Ms Frances Beinecke, President, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC),
  • Dr Nancy Birdsall, President, Center for Global Development,
  • Prof Gary Brudvig, Benjamin Silliman Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Department of Chemistry, Yale University,
  • Dr Charles K Ebinger, Senior Fellow and Director-Energy Security Initiative, The Brookings Institution

In his opening remarks, Dr John P Holdren elaborated on the major challenges presently faced by both the U.S. and India in the area of climate change, with primary focus on technology innovation in the area of clean energy. With fossil fuels fast depleting and being one of the major contributors to carbon emissions, the optimum harnessing and utilization of renewable resources like water, wind, and solar energy, have automatically emerged as the key thrust areas. A number of collaborations have been undertaken and are in different stages of implementation with mixed results.

He emphasized on the three major challenges faced—finding ways and means to reduce emissions in the urban transportation sector, providing affordable energy needed to create sustainable prosperity, and increasing the emphasis on energy research and development by removing barriers. He highlighted the importance of enhancing energy efficiency in commercial and residential buildings, the use of biofuels that do not conflict with food crops, development of smart grids, and so on.

Ms Linda S Adams briefed the gathering on the challenges faced in the state of California and the success achieved.

Ms Frances Beinecke gave the example of climate change initiatives undertaken by NRDC in India to illustrate the strength of partnerships between US and Indian organizations. Such partnerships could play a transformative role in promoting sustainable development initiatives.

With focus on demand side management, pull and push policies for scaling up of private generation, and finding ways and means of eliminating constraints, Dr Nancy Birdsall emphasized that climate change is now a reality and it’s mitigation has potential for business. She felt that there is an urgent need for policies to promote initiatives and funding to support their implementation.

Dr Charles K Ebinger pointed out that the heavy dependence on coal, which is the source of about 40% of India’s primary energy supply, cannot be ignored. However, in the near future, the adoption of carbon sequestration can have a significant impact. The demand in urban sector in India is rising phenomenally, primarily with regard to transportation. There is a business opportunity of as much as $2–3 trillion in energy investment in India, out of which 20% to 25% lies in the renewable sector.

The session came to a close with Prof. Gary Brudvig emphasizing the importance of enhancing efficiency in the existing energy infrastructure.


Plenary 2 - Removing Barriers to Technology Transfer

  • Moderator: Dr Terry F. Yosie, President & CEO, World Environment Center
  • Keynote Address: Prof Jagdish N Bhagwati, University Professor, Economics and Law, Columbia University
  • Speakers:
  • The Honorable Brian Baird, Former Member of Congress
  • Mr Ardeshir Contractor, MD & CEO , Kiran Energy Solar Power Private Limited
  • Dr J Michael McQuade, Senior Vice President, Science & Technology, United Technologies Corporation
  • Mr Geoffrey Pyatt, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia, U.S. Department of State
  • Mr Michael Schulhof, Managing Director, GTI Capital Group, LLc.
  • Mr Tantra Narayan Thakur, Chairman & Managing Director, PTC India Ltd.

A group of distinguished panelists, consisting of Columbia University Professor Jagdish Bhagwati, former member of congress Hon’ble Brian Baird, MD and CEO of Kiran Energy Solar Power Private Limited Mr Ardeshir Contractor, Senior Vice President of Science and Technology at United Technologies Corporation Dr J Michael McQuade, U.S. Department of State’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia Mr Geoffrey Pyatt, Managing Director of GTI Capital Group Mr Michael Schulhof, and Chairman and Managing Director of PTC India Limited Mr Tantra Narayan Thakur, converged at the U.S.–India Energy Partnership Summit to discuss the barriers to technology transfer between the U.S. and India and how these barriers may be overcome in the coming years. The session was moderated by President and CEO of the World Environment Center Mr Terry F Yosie.

The discussion addressed a number of issues, including the role that international treaties, governments, businesses, academic and research institutions, intellectual property (IP) conventions, and policies play in developing efficient, reliable, and affordable technologies that will shape India’s energy future.

Although international treaties build ties between nations, they have to be followed through to their logical conclusions to actually effect change. The U.S. has not agreed to the Kyoto Protocol and is not bound to financially assist India in implementing the technology required for sustainable development. One of the reasons for this could be because some U.S. officials hold the isolationist belief that the U.S. is the only one that will have anything to offer and will only lose from collaboration. In reality, collaboration between India and the U.S. is advantageous for both nations, which has been demonstrated in programmes, such as ARPA-e. Thus, the negative attitude must change. For mutually beneficial partnerships to succeed there must be initiatives in both countries from the government, business, and academic sectors to share the costs and benefits of development.

Development of new technologies is expensive. Further, purchasing IP rights can be a barrier to implementing these technologies in India. India does not lack funding as much as it lacks protection of IP rights. However, by entering into partnerships with the U.S. government, firms, and institutions, these costs can be brought down. India’s goals are not only to benefit from new technologies, but to also create them. If both countries work together, they can achieve great advancements in technology.

As far as the business sector is concerned, it is crucial to establish mutually beneficial long-term partnerships rather than opportunistic engagements. The rate of returns on energy projects is often too low for U.S. foreign investment. This could be partially because approximately 20% of the energy in India is free and another 20% is stolen. More stringent regulation of the energy markets is needed to insure that energy generates both power and profits.

Although rules and regulations can provoke investment, they can also deter it. Bureaucratic wrangling could lead to prolonged procedures that discourage foreign investment. Conversely, U.S. companies that are not familiar with Indian laws could make it difficult for India to work with foreign corporations. Therein lies the opportunity for collaboration between the two nations.

In the words of Hon’ble Brian Baird, “Good ideas, good people, and good inventions can come from anywhere in the world and when they do we all benefit from them. There are a lot of good people and good ideas in India, the more we share that the better off we will all be.”


Plenary 3 - Economic Imperatives for Innovation and Opportunities for Business

  • Moderator :
  • Mr Paul Cohen, Partner, Corporate Practice, Ketchum
  • Speakers :
  • Ms Julie T Katzman, Executive Vice President, Inter-American Development Bank
  • Dr R K Malhotra, Director (R&D), Indian Oil Corporation Limited
  • Mr Ravi Pandit, Chairman & Group CEO, KPIT Cummins Info Systems Ltd
  • Mr Venkatesh Valluri, Chairman, Ingersoll Rand India Limited

The panel focused on the need for innovation in the energy industry. Access to energy sources in India is limited, but the demand for energy growth is large. The importance of the democratization of energy was highlighted by the panelists. More specifically, while oil and gas are not geographically accessible as easily, renewable sources are available everywhere.

Dr R K Malhotra said, “India has some of the best creative minds, but one needs to convert the potential energy to kinetic energy.” This sentiment was echoed by all panelists. Converting ideas to business opportunities is necessary. It is necessary to promote the development of a knowledge-and-skill-based society. Dr Malhotra cited various successful collaborations between private companies and universities through which manpower and information has been exchanged and innovation generated. Mr Venkatesh Valluri cited several examples of how innovation is changing the face of India, including various solutions to problems such as climate change and food insecurity. However, he expressed that educational institutions in India are not geared to drive the creation and application of innovation.

Ms Julie Katzman pointed out three barriers that stand in the way of accelerating innovation—regulatory environment, availability of information, and capital. Additionally, development finance groups play an important role in getting innovative technology off the ground because financial institutions are often unwilling to take on the initial risks.

Mr Ravi Pandit reiterated the importance and demand for innovative technologies by saying “there are segments in every society in the world crying for cost-effective solutions. There is a great deal of value in offering cost effective, but high quality solutions. When you are catering to low income communities in emerging markets, you lean towards frugal engineering, which can then be beneficial globally.”

Plenary 4 - Energy Access for the Bottom of the Pyramid

  • Moderator: Mr Eric Roston, Sustainability Editor, Bloomberg
  • Keynote Address: Dr R K Pachauri, President, TERI-North America
  • Speakers:
  • Mr Manish Bapna, Executive Vice President & Managing Director, World Resources Institute,
  • Mr Jacob E Moss, Director, U.S. Cookstoves Initiatives, Office of the Secretary of State, Global Partnership Initiatives, US Department of State,
  • Mr W. Scott Tew, Executive Director, Center for Energy Efficiency and Sustainability (CEES), Ingersoll Rand,
  • Ms Leocadia I Zak, Director, U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA)

Dr R K Pachauri urged the diverse panel of speakers from the private, public, and not-for-profit organizations to deliberate about addressing energy access issues in rural India. He focused on customization and innovation in terms of both technological and institutional support. The panelists reiterated the importance of designing socially relevant technology that would converge with economic considerations of private organizations to ensure their sustained interest and innovation in this field. Another area that was met with all round agreement was the significance of technology developed in a transparent manner; innovation that does not take a limited approach, but is enhanced by the spirit of collaboration.

The panel noted that it is imperative to ensure that a commercial market is built, and financing options, such as carbon financing, grant funding, and short-term subsidies made available to attract more private sector attention and expertise. Mr Jacob E Moss reiterated that new technologies should be tested in the laboratory and in the field to ensure they address the concerns of pollution and harmful emissions before taking them to the market in order to build credibility. He mentioned that the clean cook stove campaign under the Clinton Global Initiative now has 350 partners across 33 countries with an ambitious goal to get to reach a number of 100 million clean and efficient stoves by 2020.

Mr W Scott Tew illustrated the importance of innovation in the context of a contest that invited designs for a $3,000 house without compromising safety, comfort, and sanitation. Mr Manish Bapna reiterated that effective policy should bolster these initiatives and efforts. Dr Pachauri wrapped up the session by lamenting that the needs of rural India have been neglected for a long time despite the number of people without access to electricity and clean cook stoves being in the billions and called for platforms, such as Rio+20 to shine the spotlight on critical environmental and developmental concerns. He also invited the best minds, best science, and best organizations to weigh in their resources and find solutions to the deprivation faced by billions of poor across the globe.


Concluding Session

  • Moderator: Mr Edward Luce, Washington Bureau Chief, Financial Times
  • Special Remarks:
  • HE Ambassador Tariq Ali Al-Ansari, Deputy Chef de Cabinet, Office of the President of the sixty-sixth session of the United Nations General Assembly
  • Dr Rajiv Kumar, Secretary General, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI)
  • Concluding Remarks:
  • Dr R K Pachauri, President, TERI-North America



Summit Organizers TERINA Yale University