Remarks by Acting Deputy Mission Director Idris Diaz at the Energy Exemplar Event

Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Renewable Energy
Acting Deputy Mission Director Idris Diaz at the Energy Exemplar Event
Acting Deputy Mission Director Idris Diaz at the Energy Exemplar Event.

(As Prepared for Delivery)

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.  

I am delighted to be with you here today together with Joint Secretary, Ministry of Power, Ms. Jyoti Arora; CEO, Power System Operation Corporation Limited, Mr. Sushil Soonee; and Business Development and Regional Director, Asia, of Energy Exemplar, Mr. Milorad Zecevic. 

We are here to inaugurate the use of the power systems modeling tool PLEXOS, by Energy Exemplar, under our joint Clean Energy Program:  the Partnership to Advance Clean Energy – Deployment – PACE-D.  Power systems modeling is a core element of the newest addition to PACE-D called Greening the Grid, which focuses on large-scale integration of renewable energy.

The United States Government has had a long and successful strategic partnership with India in the energy sector.  During the late 1960s and into the 1970s, the U.S. Agency for International Development worked with India’s Rural Electrification Corporation to form rural cooperatives and build over a dozen thermal and hydroelectric power plants.  

Over the last 15 years, a USAID program has helped India avoid 100 million tons of GHG emissions and also reduce coal consumption by 78 million tons, worth, a savings of approximately U.S. $1.5 billion.  Another USAID program supported the establishment of the Bureau of Energy Efficiency and contributed to the building efficiency movement in the country.

In 2009, our governments outlined a historic Strategic Dialogue – to accelerate the growth of our bilateral relationship to enhance global prosperity and stability in the 21st century.  This Strategic Dialogue focuses on five principal pillars, one of which is “energy and climate change.”  To further the Strategic Dialogue, working groups have been set up to increase trade and investment in the areas of cleaner energy production; energy efficiency; and renewable energy.

One of the most significant outcomes of the bilateral Energy Dialogue is our Partnership to Advance Clean Energy, or “PACE,” which was launched by President Obama and Prime Minister Singh in November 2009.  Over the past few years, PACE has mobilized government and private sector resources from both countries to improve energy access and promote low-carbon growth.

Within the U.S. Government, this collaborative effort unifies the skills and resources of many different agencies.  These include the Department of Commerce, Department of State, Department of Energy, U.S. Trade and Development Agency, Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Export-Import Bank of the United States, and USAID.

The USAID-led PACE-D Technical Assistance Program is based on a bilateral agreement signed with the Ministry of Power and Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.  The five-year, $20 million program was launched in July, 2012 with the aim of accelerating India’s transition to a low emission, low carbon and energy secure economy.

The program concentrates on deployment of clean energy solutions, systems and technologies.  

It focuses on three key components: 

1. end use energy efficiency;

2. improved supply of renewable energy; and

3. increasing efficiency of existing fossil-fuel powered electricity generation.  

Although the third component concluded in 2014, under each of these components, the focus is on strengthening policy and regulatory institutions, increasing access to finance and enhancing institutional and human capacity.

Under PACE-D, the Government of India and USAID have worked tirelessly to advance the deployment of clean energy through a series of activities.  These include developing policies for energy efficient new buildings, adoption of rooftop solar panels, utility-based demand side management programs to promote energy efficiency, and model smart grid regulations.  

The program supports deployment of rooftop solar by engaging directly with large energy consumers such as Indian Railways and Indian Oil.  In addition, a recently developed solar financing tool is being used by domestic financial institutions to assess the viability of rooftop solar projects.  

Also, in the area of finance, we are piloting mechanisms such as green bonds and supporting seven micro-financiers to develop clean energy lending programs.  The program is on the cusp of launching a zero net energy portal which will feature advanced sustainable buildings in India and abroad.  Through a  partnership with a public utility and civil society organization, we are helping agricultural consumers to go green with solar pumps, thereby reducing the consumption of diesel and electricity for grid –connected pumps.  Finally, the program has an essential focus on capacity building which traverses the areas of energy efficiency, smart grid and solar power.

Now, for the reason we are here today.  USAID/India’s new clean energy project, Greening the Grid, aims to support the Government of India in managing large-scale integration of renewable energy (RE) into the Indian power grid.  The project, implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Power, is conducting a series of grid integration studies to identify potential grid reliability concerns as the system absorbs high RE levels.  

Further, the integration studies will evaluate the impacts of achieving 2022 RE targets and assess cost effective actions to improve RE integration.  The integration studies will be done using a state of the art modeling tool called PLEXOS, developed by Energy Exemplar.  PLEXOS is used by utilities, regulatory agencies, developers and researchers all over the world to analyze the economics of power system operations.

On behalf of USAID, a team from the U.S. Department of Energy’s national laboratories (National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) are working with POSOCO, PGCIL, CEA, and participating states (Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh) to analyze the impacts of high renewable penetration and identify strategies that can more cost-effectively integrate RE.  

A key to the success of the grid integration studies is the collaborative modeling approach that we are undertaking with our partners.  As such, 10 PLEXOS licenses have been made available to Indian stakeholders, including POSOCO, the National Load Dispatch Center and its southern and western regional load dispatch centers, PGCIL, CEA, and the state transmission company and SLDCs of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Gujarat.

Using PLEXOS, the team will develop and validate a unit commitment and dispatch model under multiple 2022 RE scenarios, and to evaluate the cost of different RE integration strategies.  These will include one study for the national system and more in-depth analysis of the western and southern regional systems.

We aim to complete these renewable energy integration studies this year; these studies will then feed into the remaining components of Greening the Grid, including at least six pilots that will test renewable integration strategies on the ground.  As such, these studies will directly drive on-the-ground action. 

I would like to thank Joint Secretary, Ministry of Power, Ms. Jyoti Arora; CEO, Power System Operation Corporation Limited, Mr. Sushil Soonee; and Business Development and Regional Director, Asia, of Energy Exemplar, Mr. Milorad Zecevic for their leadership and commitment to U.S. – India cooperation.  I am proud of our longstanding partnership in the energy sector and I know that we have the potential to further strengthen this partnership through Greening the Grid.

Finally, I would like to congratulate the team and everyone here today.  I look forward to the successful completion of your work and toward a clean energy future for India.

Thank you.


New Delhi, India
Issuing Country