New Delhi: Chris Greenwood, director of research at New Energy Finance, tracks and analyzes global investment activity for investors in the field of clean energy, low carbon technologies and carbon markets.
Chris Greenwood, director, research, New Energy Finance
Greenwood spoke to Lipi Mohapatra, on the sidelines of the CleanTech Forum in New Delhi, on how India is poised to emerge as a key player in clean energy investments. Edited excerpts:
Is India going to meet the renewable energy target?
With a total renewable installed capacity of 12.4gw, as of 31March this year, in every probability the government will meet the target of 15gw by 2012.
Worldwide, what kind of investments is the renewable energy sector attracting?
A total of $148.4bn was invested in clean energy companies and projects worldwide during 2007. A total of $3.65bn was invested in clean energy in India in 2007, which was a threefold increase from 2006.
The government projects an additional 15gw of installed capacity added by 2012 with an estimated investment of $15bn. As of 31March, total installed renewable capacity is 12.4gw, of which 8.7gw is that of wind energy.
The wind sector in India has attracted maximum investments in the renewable energy space. Solar energy is still in a nascent stage of development, but with new government policies supporting the growth of the solar industry it is increasingly becoming a destination for foreign investment.
How do you view R&D in this sector in India?
The government has proposed a subsidy of up to 100% of the project cost for R&D institutions and universities, and a 50% subsidy for industry R&D. With a few exceptions, so far the trend has been to adopt technology developed in other countries instead of focusing on domestic R&D for renewable energy.
What are some of the India specific challenges and how do you suggest we overcome that?
There are two major challenges. The first is policy related, in that, there is little continuity of policies. With every change in government, the policies go through changes as well. In addition, the policies announced are vague, presenting a ‘vision’ without specific targets or guidelines.
Second issue is that of talent. In such a new industry, there is a shortage of educated, experienced managment-level talent to run the renewable energy (RE) companies that are growing so fast in India. At New Energy Finance, even on a global level, we hear from both investors and RE companies that their biggest challenge is attracting the right people to build organizations.
Why is India an investment destination for clean technologies?
India is attractive to investors for several reasons, significant being the way demand for power outstrips supply. Many homes in the country are still not electrified. As the country grows, this presents a great opportunity for clean energy to plug gaps and create useful linkages. Also, with India’s GDP growing at a rate of 8-9% per annum, infrastructure developments, including energy will have to emerge as a top priority. Finally, because renewable energy projects in India attract an additional revenue stream from CDM, investors can obtain a higher return than they would have otherwise.