Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: A November workshop explored how both India and the U.S. will increase generating capacity and expand their grid.

Supported by the U.S. Department of State, the U.S.-India State and Urban Initiative (led by the Center for Strategic & International Studies, or CSIS) partnered with the Indian government’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and the Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation to organize the U.S.-India Subnational Energy Workshop from Nov. 1-3, 2017, in New Delhi. The workshop brought together U.S. and Indian government officials as well as representatives from research institutions, the private sector and civil society to foster deeper collaboration on energy issues. The U.S. and India have a longstanding and successful strategic partnership in the energy sector. Cooperation between the two countries, which is technical, economic and bilateral, is strengthening with each passing year.

The workshop covered the following topics:

  • Powering the Grid of the Future: Key Technologies
  • Managing the Grid of the Future: Policy Challenges and Opportunities
  • The Energy Future of Indian States

In June 2017, the Trump Administration pledged to spend $7.5 million to help advance India's power grid, as part of the two countries' commitments to ensure access to affordable and reliable energy. The U.S.-India collaboration for smart distribution systems with storage (UI-ASSIST) was selected as the new consortium for Smart Grid and Energy Storage under the U.S.-India Joint Clean Energy Research and Development Center (JCERDC). Together with their counterparts in India, the center will conduct research and deploy new smart grid and energy storage technologies that will modernize the grids of both the nations to make them “smarter” while increasing resilience and reliability. Through JCERDC, U.S.-based world-class installations and national laboratories will contribute their expertise and capabilities as India expands energy access to its remote areas, improves its grid reliability and resilience, and strengthens its energy security.

The grid of the future must be reliable, resilient and capable of integrating increasing amounts of renewable energy and other distributed energy resources. Based on CSIS’s survey of Indian and U.S. states, a few key technologies stand out as critical for the creation of this new grid: decentralized and large-grid-tied renewable energy, smart power technologies, demand-side management, demand response and energy storage technologies. The predominant focus in many states is to increase renewable energy generation first, and then incorporate those resources into the grid, along with the requisite smart power technologies and storage. As renewable and distributed energy resource penetration continues to increase, the transition to a less centrally organized grid incentivizes other related technologies. Smart power technologies and storage will play a critical role in this transition, as will appropriate and timely data management.

Around 293 global and domestic companies have committed to generate 266 GW of solar, wind, mini-hydro and biomass-based power in India over the next 5 to 10 years. The initiative would entail an investment between $310 billion and $350 billion. From April 2000 to March 2017, the non-conventional energy sector attracted $5.18 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI).

India has moved up to second place, surpassing the U.S., in this year's Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index compiled by EY. At India’s first global investors’ meeting for green energy in 2015, private companies committed to invest about $200 billion in renewable energy. With India looking to enhance the share of renewable sources to 40 percent of its energy mix by 2030, up from 13 percent now, U.S. businesses are making a beeline to capture a slice of the market, and Wisconsin-based companies involved in energy production and related sectors should get involved.