The Inaugural Session of the Summit took place on October 1st, featuring senior government officials from both countries. This was followed by plenary sessions on different aspects of the overall theme, featuring a panel of eminent speakers from government, academia and business. In addition, there were a select number of keynote addresses. For this year, the plenary sessions are as follows:
India is experiencing rapid growth and energy is one of the primary determinants of this progress. However, over 300 million people still do not even have access to electricity and over 800 million people depend on solid biomass for cooking. While a majority of the under-served live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for livelihood, the share of agriculture in national GDP is sharply declining. This is an alarming situation. On the one hand, growing population increases the pressure on the agriculture sector and on the other, achieving universal energy access requires more energy generation and comprehensive action. Incidentally, energy demand from all sectors of the economy is already on the rise. At this juncture, facilitating opportunities for resilient growth and development to the energy poor is inevitable. US-India energy cooperation, particularly on development of clean technologies, has great potential for enhancing energy access.
Chair: Mr Jacob Moss, Director, US Cookstoves Initiative, US Department of State
Rural Energy in India: An overview
- Mr I H Rehman, Director, Social Transformation, TERI
- Ms Linda Adams, Senior Advisor, Clean Tech Advocates; Founding President, R20-Regions of Climate Action; Chair, Climate Action Reserve Board of Directors; and Former Secretary, California Environmental Protection Agency
- Mr Robert Ichord, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Energy Transformation, US Department of State
- Ms Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, Director of Programs, NRDC
- Dr Zia Khan, Vice President, Initiatives & Strategy, The Rockefeller Foundation
- Ms Radha Muthiah, Executive Director, Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves
- Dr Michael Schulhof, Managing Director, GTI Capital Group LLC
- Mr Anand Subbiah, Executive Director, McLean Development Group
Energy and climate change constitutes one of the five principal pillars of the Strategic Dialogue between the US and India. Both countries face significant climate change risks, with their contributions to global greenhouse gas emissions. There is great potential to further the cooperation between the US and India on addressing climate change risks and effects, as well as mitigation and adaptation.
The 5th US-India Energy Partnership Summit will be held on the heels of the United Nations Climate Summit, which aims at 'Catalyzing Action'. The Climate Summit has identified the following eight action areas as critical for keeping global temperature increases to less than two degrees Celsius: agriculture, cities, energy, financing, forests, pollutants, resilience, and transportation. The patterns of production and consumption contribute to the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere, which in turn result in climate change. The sustainability of current patterns of production and consumption therefore comes into question. Actions towards dealing with climate change, both in respect of adaptation and mitigation, are critical to meeting the objectives of sustainability. Clean energy forms a significant aspect of any strategy towards tackling climate change. The Sustainable Development Goals, to be set in 2015, will need to take into account the goal of stabilizing the earth's climate. The triangle between adaptation, mitigation and sustainable development is such that each reinforces the need for the other.
The discussions on climate change at the US-India Energy Partnership Summit 2014 will take into account the outcomes of the Climate Summit as well as address the issues stated above, particularly in the context of US-India cooperation.
Chair: Ambassador Carlos Pascual, Fellow, Columbia University Center on Global Energy Policy & Former Special Envoy and Coordinator International Energy Affairs, Energy Resources Bureau, US Department of State
- Mr Reid Detchon, Vice President, Energy & Climate, United Nations Foundation
- Dr Charles Ebinger, Senior Fellow and Director Energy Security Initiative, Brookings
- Prof V Ramanathan, Distinguished Professor, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego
- Mr Richard Rossow, Senior Fellow & Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies, Center for Strategic and International Studies
- Mr Jake Schmidt, International Policy Climate Director, International Program, NRDC
- Mr William Sisson, Director, Sustainability, United Technologies Research Center, UTC
- Mr Randal Newton, Vice President, Engineering Operations, Ingersoll Rand
The United States and India are among the highest consumers of energy in the world. This is particularly alarming for India, considering that over 300 million people are yet to gain access to electricity. At present, 34% of the annual electricity consumption in India is attributed to buildings. Nearly 40% of total US energy consumption in 2012 was consumed in residential and commercial buildings (~40 quadrillion Btu). It is, therefore, imperative to adopt and promote sustainable building practices at the earliest, in order to increase energy efficiency and enhance energy security. Both countries face unique yet related challenges, with great potential for bilateral cooperation in various sectors. The on-going PACE program is a unique collaborative effort that looks at buildings as a priority area and is driving a focused research and deployment agenda to steer energy efficient and net zero buildings. Energy efficiency is a critical component in achieving the Indian Prime Minister's vision of establishing 100 Smart Cities across India. This session will discuss potential areas of collaboration towards solutions for the energy challenges at hand.
Chair: Dr Terry F Yosie, President & CEO, World Environment Center
- Prof. Uwe S Brandes, Executive Director, Urban and Regional Planning Program, Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies
- Mr Zubin Irani, President, UTC Building & Industrial Systems (India)
- Ms Mili Majumdar, Director, Sustainable Habitat, TERI
- Mr Mahesh Ramanujam, COO, USGBC & President, GBCI
- Mr Venkatesh Valluri, Chairman, India Region, Ingersoll Rand India
- Mr Michael P Walsh, Special Advisor to the Board of Directors, Global Strategy, International Council on Clean Transportation