Focus: GS-II International relations, GS-III Environment and Ecology

Why in news?

India and the United States have announced new areas of research on:

Transformational power generation based on supercritical CO2 (sCO2) power cycles and advanced coal technologies, including carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS).

U.S. – India Strategic Energy Partnership (SEP) review meeting co-chaired by U.S. Secretary of Energy and Indian Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and of Steel, paved way for the announcement.

Key points discussed

  • New areas of research on transformational power generation based on supercritical CO2 (sCO2) power cycles and advanced coal technologies, including carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) announced.

sCO2 is a fluid state of carbon dioxide where it is held at or above its critical temperature and critical pressure.

  • Smart grids and energy storage are being implemented by consortium comprising of Indian and US entities.
  • Policy directions for the societal acceptance of smart grid concepts, Distributed Energy Resources, impact and value of the integrative solutions and emerging role of utilities as Distributed System Operators.
  • Common priorities for collaboration evolved in Clean Coal Technologies, Supercritical Carbon Dioxide (sCO2) Power Cycles and Carbon Capture Utilisation & Storage (CCUS) technologies.
  • One of the notable outcomes of the dialogue is participation of India in the multilateral platform for Accelerating CCUS Technologies (ACT) through which avenues have been generated for possible US- India collaboration.

US-India Strategic Energy Partnership (SEP)

  • The United States and India have a long and successful strategic partnership, which is technical, economic, and bilateral, in the energy sector – strengthening year after year.
  • In 2009, the United States and India launched the Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE), which is working to accelerate inclusive, low carbon growth by supporting research and deployment of clean energy technologies.
  • In order to track progress of the various levels of bilateral engagement on energy, the U.S.–India Energy Dialogue is convened annually.

The SEP organizes inter-agency engagement on both sides across four primary pillars of cooperation:

  1. Power and Energy Efficiency,
  2. Oil and Gas,
  3. Renewable Energy,
  4. Sustainable Growth.

The SEP also supports USA efforts under the AsiaEDGE initiative, which establishes India as a strong energy partner in the Indo-Pacific region.

  • Over the past year, India has revised its renewable energy target to 175 GW by 2022.
  • The national solar target was scaled up by five times, reaching 100 GW by 2022.

Partnership to Advance Clean Energy-Deployment (PACE-D)

  • Partnership to Advance Clean Energy (PACE) is the flagship program on clean energy between the U.S. and India to jointly work on a range of issues related to energy security, clean energy and climate change.
  • PACE seeks to accelerate inclusive, low-carbon growth by supporting research and deployment of clean energy technologies and policies.

PACE combines the efforts of several government and nongovernment stakeholders on both the U.S. and Indian sides and includes three key components:

  1. Research (PACE-R),
  2. Deployment (PACE-D), and
  3. Off-Grid Energy Access (PEACE).

Achievements and Progress of U.S. – India SEP so far

  • Significant increase in the bilateral hydrocarbon trade through SEP.
  • U.S.-India Natural Gas Task Force promotes greater hydrocarbon trade between the two countries.
  • A public-private Hydrogen Task Force was launched to help scale up technologies to produce hydrogen from renewable energy and fossil fuel sources and to bring down the cost of deployment for enhanced energy security and resiliency.
  • India’s first-ever Solar Decathlon in 2021, which is a collegiate competition to prepare the next generation to design and build high efficiency buildings powered by renewables, is to be held in collaboration with the U.S.
  • United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and India’s Energy Efficiency Services Ltd (EESL) has jointly initiated “Retrofit of Air Conditioning to Improve Air Quality for Safety and Efficiency” (RAISE) for healthy and energy efficient buildings – as a move to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
  • USAID and NITI Aayog jointly launched the India Energy Modeling Forum to build a network of modeling communities and its linkage with Government for analytical work and policy making exercise.
  • USAID launched the South Asia Women in Energy (SAWIE) platform focused on the power sector and both the countries have been working to incorporate gender-focused activities across the technical pillars.
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