Bridge India

Much fanfare and interest, but few specifics at RE INVEST

On Sunday (15th February 2015), India’s first government organised renewable energy investment summit got underway. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the event at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, in the presence of Indian and global industry stakeholders. Minister for New and Renewable Energy, Piyush Goyal, called it a ‘historic day’ that will pave the way for making India the ‘renewable energy capital of the world’ and the Prime Minister related the ambitions to energy access for all (see Prime Minister’s address here). The country aims for 100 GW of solar, 70 GW of wind and significant additions of small hydro and biomass power.

  • Solar think tanks presented several valuable ideas and suggestions at the REINVEST 2015
  • Andhra Pradesh announced a concrete policy on the first day, a target of 10,000 MW of renewables by March 2019
  • Industry stakeholders opined that 100 GW is a desirable and feasible target but very ambitious and will require a step change in policy commitment

The panels and speeches discussed, in broad terms, the business fundamentals needed for a functioning market place. The main topics were: how to lower the cost of finance, investment commitments in projects and manufacturing and how to bring the states on board for a smooth center-state coordination. During the conference sessions, several valuable ideas and suggestions were presented by the panelists. You may want to follow these updates from twitter handles such as @RE_Invest2015 and @MNREIndia and the hash tag #REInvest2015.

The Prime Minister collected vague, GW-sized, public commitments from states, public and private sector companies. This might sound anachronistic, but we would not be surprised, if the PMO actively follows up on those in the coming years.

Those attendees who were expecting the government to announce specific, new policies and a road map for the industry to reach the ambitious targets, were disappointed. The only concrete policy announcement on the first day came from Andhra Pradesh, which announced a target of 10,000 MW of renewables by March 2019 (refer). The state chief minister, Chandrababu Naidu subsequently interacted with the investors.

BRIDGE TO INDIA met several industry stakeholders to get an industry pulse and their thoughts on the 100 GW target for solar. Most stakeholders thought that it is a desirable and feasible target but very ambitious and will require a step change in policy commitment. One panelist described the situation very well, when he said: “India needs to act quickly to retain the mind space it has attracted.” Similar interest was created in the Saudi Arabia and Mexico markets but because of lack of tangible progress, they lost that mind space. The same should not happen in India. Even though it is difficult, we hope that a step change in government action will follow all the enthusiasm, attention and investment willingness that has been seen at the event.

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