India-UK CEO Forum

Today is the second meeting of the India-UK CEO Forum since the UK voted to exit the European Union. The forum presents an opportunity to build a new, stronger trade and investment relationship between the two countries.

With an opportunity to show that businesses are a force for good in society, we have created a working group named as “Low Carbon Economies”. As such, there are numerous opportunities for India and the UK to strengthen existing trade and investment ties in the field of clean energy and related activities. At the same time, India and the UK can partner in trade, co-develop low-carbon economies, green energy generation and usage strategies to combat climate change and mitigate global warming.

There are now more than seven billion of us on earth, as our population continue to grow, the demand for far more jobs, everyday essentials and exploitation of natural resources will significantly increase. As a result, we are accelerating the rate at which we're changing our climate and one of the major contributor is the carbon emissions that is causing irreparable damages to our atmosphere.

I can see the Forum adding significant value includes

  • Increase in renewable energy usage, generation and to improve energy efficiency
  • Renovating and modernising existing thermal power plants.
  • Increasing use of electric vehicles for urban mobility and blending of oil with bio-fuel for transport.
  • Creating ancillary services such as balancing mechanisms and storage options for energy.
  • Improving widespread access to quality and affordable energy.

The three key areas of cooperation are

Investment: It is estimated that Indian projects in the clean energy and climate change sector will generate investment opportunities up to USD 300 billion by 2020. For renewable energy projects in India, there is huge scope and demand, for growth in direct and indirect equity investments from the UK to India and for Indian businesses to raise finance in the UK.

Knowledge: There is a huge opportunity for the transfer of knowledge and regulatory best practices from UK to India, including the creation of spot markets for clean energy. Knowledge exchange about the Renewables Obligation Certificate (ROC) market in the UK and how it can be emulated for the prevalent Renewable Energy Certification (REC) market in India.

Education: Opportunities to establish university linkages between the UK and India to collaborate on joint research and development programmes for technology and to deepen market frameworks.

I will be making the following recommendations to the group so that we can work closer together

  • To mitigate global warming, international collaboration on research and development to identify adaptive, future-proof/ sustainable practices is essential. The UK and India must harness joint capabilities to identify and tackle these issues.
  • Identify specific areas, where Indian best practices on renewable energies can be exported to the UK and vice versa, for example exporting renewable energy products and services.
  • Collaborate and jointly invest to establish off-shore wind energy projects in India and for third party countries
  • Look at plausibility of Indo – UK bilateral trade for Emission Reductions by establishing a linking directive
  • Establish a working group to do a deep dive, co-opting specialists to identify bottlenecks, challenges and workable suggestions for bilateral development to be taken up by respective governments and prospective businesses.

I’m proud to represent this sector in this esteemed gathering.Thanks to the work done by pioneers in the industry, today wind energy is a mature and mainstream technology and one of the fastest growing industrial sectors in the world. It is commendable to see UK government committed to phase out coal power plants by 2025, to curb carbon emissions. Coal’s share of the nation’s energy mix has fallen to 6 per cent – down from 23 per cent in 2015 due to the closure of a number of coal plants last year. The UK generated more electricity from wind turbines than from burning coal for the first time last year.

There is an opportunity and need for India to follow suit and reduce its dependency on coal based energy production and curb our carbon emissions.

The future of our planet depends on the actions we take now. It is time for each one of us to come together and work towards powering a green tomorrow.

Happy Global Wind Day!