Indian Energy Minister Woos Investors with Promised Reforms

(L-R) Mukesh Aghi, President, US-India Business Council; Upendra Tripathy, Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Government of India; Piyush Goyal, Indian Federal Minister of State-Power, Coal and New & Renewable Energy & Sumant Sinha, Chairman, CII Special Taskforce on Solar and Chairman & CEO, ReNew Power Ventures Pvt Ltd

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New York – During a recent trip to the United States, India’s energy czar portrayed a vibrant image of promised reforms by the current Indian government to ease investment and business atmosphere.

Highlighting the achievements of the Modi government, Piyush Goyal, Indian Federal Minister of State for Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy told journalists that India is committed to implementing the promises made by Modi in his discussions earlier with the business community.

Goyal outlined proposed efforts by the Indian Government to improve energy access and enhancing grid reliability among other things. The reforms aim to bring a much-needed change in India’s power sector that can take India to a double digit economic growth trajectory, he noted.

Later addressing a select audience of American investors and developers in the field of Renewable Energy Goyal optimistically projected India’s growth to be in double digits by next year. The caveat being that India needs to get a strong monsoon, the minister added.

The meeting, which was jointly organized by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and US-India Business Council (USIBC), saw the minister promising implementation of reforms which can lure investors. Asking US businesses and investors to consider India as an investment option, Goyal listed three Ds – Democracy, Demography and Demand.

Calling upon gas producers to explore investment opportunities in the Indian market, Minister Goyal said, “India is willing to take gas for its gas based power projects and sign long term contracts of 10-15 years but this can be done at a fixed price of $5 per mmbtu as the power sector is a price sensitive sector in the country.”

“With about 28 GW of stranded gas assets in the country, this is a huge and promising market as long as the prices are right and given the current Baltic index, I believe that this is a viable proposition,” Goyal said, adding that India is currently exploring all means of gasification including coal bed methane.

Talking about another investment opportunity, the Make in India initiative, he said, “To incentivize manufacturing in solar, the government is exploring options of long term power contracts and long term land lease contracts for solar manufacturers.”

Goyal promised to open soon the 21st overseas office of State-run Energy Efficiency Services limited (EESL) in New York to share innovative ways of mainstreaming energy efficiency – primarily on the back of economies of scale and transparent procurement.

Goyal said, “We will go back by the weekend and my office will get cracking with the EESL on Monday to set the ball rolling on EESL’s US chapter.”

During his US visit from April 20-22, Goyal also met Stephen Schwarzian, Blackstone chairman; Jack Kutner, Big Belly CEO; Saurabh Agarwal of Warburg Pincus; Alfred Griffin, New York Green Bank president and Richard Kauffman, chairman of Energy and Finance, Office of the Governor of New York.

Goyal was accompanied by an official delegation, including Secretary, Indian federal Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and Indian federal Joint Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

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