WASHINGTON, April 17 (UPI) -- Indian Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde called on U. S. companies to invest in India's energy sector, noting that India is moving toward massive investments, particularly in electricity generation and transmission.
India is aiming for massive investments, particularly in electricity generation and transmission, Shinde told a gathering organized by the U.S. India Business Council in Washington Monday, noting that "there are excellent opportunities in India to examine the feasibility of clean energy technologies, which will be a win-win situation for India and the United States," Press Trust of India reports.
A Pew Charitable Trusts survey released last week said that India ranks sixth among the world's 20 leading economies in attracting funds to build clean energy infrastructure. In 2011, private investment in the country's clean energy sector totaled $10.2 billion, an increase of 54 percent from 2010.
"Energy security is of vital economic and strategic significance for us," Shinde said.
While financial, technological and exploratory initiatives already exist between India and the U.S. in renewable energy and energy conservation and efficiency, he said, "we now need to explore economic partnerships between the Indian and U.S. companies in this shift to clean energy."
Shinde acknowledged reservations investors might have about investing in India's energy sector, including land acquisition, coal sourcing, pricing reforms, payment security and contracts.
"Recognizing the need for an overall and comprehensive legal architecture and a policy framework conducive to larger and more sustained investment in the power sector, the government of India took numerous steps to facilitate reforms in the sector," he said, noting that New Delhi has proposed measures for the country's budget to stimulate investment and that a land acquisition bill is under consideration.
Shinde also met with U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu on Monday to discuss ways to boost bilateral cooperation, particularly in alternative energy and energy conservation.
Shinde's call for increased U.S. investment in India's energy sector comes on the heels of an announcement Friday of a joint India-U.S. $125 million fund for clean energy research as part of the U.S.-India Partnership to Advance Clean Energy announced during U.S. President Barack Obama's trip to India in November 2009.
Under the program, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, University of Florida and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the United States and the Indian Institute of Science-Bangalore, the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology-Hyderabad, and CEPT University-Ahmedabad will lead consortia in research involving solar technology, advanced biofuels and building efficiency.
"This innovative research program will help promote clean energy, create jobs, and open export opportunities for U.S. business," said David Sandalow, assistant secretary for Policy and International Affairs in the U.S. Department of Energy.
"By bringing some of our best scientific and technical minds together, we can strengthen both our great nations."