A high level delegation from India held meetings in Israel yesterday, to advance cooperation on the renewable energy front. The Jerusalem Post reported on the events in two articles.
The meetings included representatives from both the Indian and Israeli governments, as well as leaders from around 50 Israeli renewable energy companies. India is an enormous country where 400 million people still lack access to electricity, and despite already relying on renewable sources for 6 percent of its 200-gigawatt power supply, the country still depends on oil for the vast majority of its energy needs, according to Ashwani Kumar, a solar energy scientist at the New and Renewable Energy Ministry of India.
“Israel is a start-up nation, and both the people and the country are known for innovation,” said Vani Rao, charge d’affaires at the Indian Embassy in Tel Aviv. “India has put energy security on the top of its agenda.”
To this effect, Gireesh Pradhan, secretary of India’s New and Renewable Energy Ministry, commented, “As we complete 20 years as an embassy, we are thinking of what we can do together [with the Israeli government] in the future,” Rao said. “One of the areas we have identified is renewable energy.”
In India, there are bounds of land that could be put to no use other than building solar fields, as well as a vast array of other renewable energy opportunities, and Pradhan said he believes that Israeli technology and ideas should be employed in consonance with this advantage.
“Israel has the ability to innovate under very trying circumstances,” Pradhan said. “The constraints that your country has faced and the ability to deal with these constraints and produce out-of-the-box solutions are well known.”
Yifat Inbar, manager of the India-China desk and director of the Foreign Trade Administration at the Industry, Trade and Labor Ministry, assured the business people and entrepreneurs sitting around the table that her ministry was there to help them take up such opportunities.
Her office, she explained, would be helping forge dialogues, ease access the Indian market, get in touch with local players and generally “facilitate that connection which we know is very difficult to make.”
Placing a great value on Israel and India’s trade that continues to improve and flourish, Inbar attributed Israel’s ability to largely evade the world financial crisis in part to its success in trading with Asian countries such as India. Currently, the two governments are in the process of negotiating an agreement to reduce customs levels between the two nations in order to bring about free trade, she said.
Innovators and business people from all sides of the renewable energy industry presented themselves to the Indian delegation, eager to create partnerships and bring their technologies to the subcontinent.
Representatives attended from defense company Rafael, which is developing technology for fuel substitutes; energy storage startup EnStorage; photovoltaic field developer Arava Power Company; solar-thermal firms Ener-T Global and HelioFocus; solar panel enhancer SolarEdge; and from all corners of the solar, wind, biomass and capital investment industries.
The Jerusalem Post also reported that during the visit Gireesh Pradhan met with his counterpart in the Energy and Water Ministry, director-general Shaul Zemach, and the two have nearly finalized an official memorandum of understanding between the two countries. This memorandum will give both sides a platform to build business-to-business relationships, encourage partnerships among scientific research organizations and catalyze government- to-government interaction with regular, set meeting times, Pradhan explained.
“The MoU gives you a platform, an overarching umbrella, which will allow you to take forward all these initiatives,” he said.
For the full Jerusalem Post interview with Gireesh Pradhan click here.