UK and India strike £3.2bn clean energy and climate change deal
The Prime Ministers of the UK and India met in London yesterday (12 November) to agree on a new climate deal between the two countries that will establish a £10m joint research collaboration into new low-carbon technologies.
Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his first official visit to the UK as the two PMs announced a package encompassing £3.2bn in commercial agreements to encourage the research, development and deployment of clean technology, renewables and nuclear initiatives.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “We want UK and Indian scientists to work together to develop the low‑cost, low‑carbon energy that’s vital for the future, and that’s why we’re establishing a new, £10 million joint research collaboration into new technologies.
“Today, we agreed on the vital importance of securing an ambitious global deal in Paris later this year that keeps our goal of limiting global warming by 2050 to two degrees, within reach.”
Included within the deal is an agreement to transform India’s economy by building 100 smart cities and providing ‘around the clock electricity’ for every household in India. The two countries also announced the UK Climate Investments joint venture with the Green Investment Bank. This will invest up to £200m in renewable energy in India and Africa.
With both PMs agreeing to the need for an "ambitious and comprehensive global agreement" to tackle climate change in Paris, they have also signed a civil nuclear agreement, while India will also offer the global centre for clean energy partnerships as an area where the two countries will cooperate and develop the new low-carbon, low-cost research.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: “I am pleased with the progress in our cooperation in clean energy and climate change involving our governments and the private sector. This is an area of immense importance, and it offers enormous opportunities.
“With regard to India’s comprehensive and ambitious national plan on climate change, we have a lot of expectations from our bilateral cooperation. We look forward to a concrete outcome in Paris within the framework of the UN Convention on Climate Change, which charts decisive goals for a sustainable and low-carbon future for the world.”
Commenting on the deal, UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd said: “The UK and India’s partnership on energy is going from strength to strength. We share world-class expertise in research and innovation.
"The UK’s experience in green finance and technology in particular makes us well – placed to work together to promote secure, affordable and sustainable supplies of energy and address climate change.”
Modi has overseen a change in energy reliance in India, as the country pushes towards more sustainable sources of energy. Coal imports are expected to freeze this year and fall by 20% per annum thereafter. Modi is also aiming to install 175GW of renewable energy by 2022, as well as developing the country’s grid infrastructure.
India's Ministry of Power also has announced the country will replace all conventional lightbulbs in streetlights and the domestic sector with LED bulbs by 2017; reducing power load by 5 GW, and saving 10.5bn kWh every year, translating to savings of £581m.
In stark contrast to India’s green movement Cameron has administrated huge, ongoing cuts to renewable subsidies. This has left the UK in a complex environment, with a leaked letter from Amber Rudd admitting that it would be difficult for the UK to hit its 2020 renewables target.