Australia, India to share clean technologies

March 11th, 2008 - 2:35 pm ICT by admin  

By Neena Bhandari
Melbourne, March 11 (IANS) Australia and India may be bitter rivals on the cricket field, but the two countries are eager to share know-how in clean technologies. The spotlight was on India at the fourth AustralAsian Cleantech Forum, which features 15 pre-screened investment-ready Australian Cleantech companies, raising capital and building global business partnerships to accelerate the deployment of Cleantech products, particularly in the Indian market.

Managing director of Cleantech AustralAsia, Peter Castellas, told IANS: “Cleantech AustralAsia has a mission to accelerate the investment and deployment of clean technologies in the Asia Pacific. India is the focus of our strategy and we are building a bridge to one of the fastest growing cleantech markets in the world.”

According to the US-based Cleantech Network, international investor momentum in the cleantech industry reached an all time high in 2007 with American and European venture capitalists investing a record $1.74 billion in the third quarter, bringing the total to more than $3.5 billion in 2007, an increase of 13 percent on the previous year.

Country head of Sustainable Investment Bank and Private Equity, Yes Bank in India, Vivek Mehra, said: “We want to provide Australian companies access, both physical and financial, to the Indian market. One thing missing in India is equity funding for development projects and Australia can help us bridge that by investing funds into Indian development projects, for example, converting waste to energy, water, sanitation, renewable energy, urban planning and transportation.

“Australia has expertise on clean coal technology and India is going to rely on coal to meet its energy needs for a long time to come. The two countries can mutually benefit from sharing this clean and economically feasible technology.”

“There is also vast scope for Australia to provide India with energy efficient technology in building construction. This will go a long way in improving habitat development in the country,” said chief sustainability officer at the Sustainability Excellence Centre of Emaar MGF Land Limited, Surinder Kumar.

A report, `Pursuing Clean Energy Business in India’, by Cleantech Australia and funded by the Australian government and The Asia-Pacific Partnership (APP) on Clean Development and Climate was also launched here Tuesday.

The report said Australia has some “mature” commercially proven renewable energy technologies, products and services that could be adapted and deployed in India.

“This report is aimed at accelerating the development and deployment of clean technologies under a multilateral framework and building a bridge between public and private sector. While India represents tremendous opportunity, there are some challenges in the renewable energy sector.

“The report identifies these challenges and potential solutions that the governments can implement to accelerate private sector activity,” said Erin Iping Kuo, Director Cleantech AustralAsia.

APP brings together Australia, India, Canada, China, Japan, South Korea and the US to address the challenges of climate change, energy security and air pollution in a way that encourages development and reduces poverty.

It provides a mechanism where there is an opportunity to bridge knowledge gaps and import best practices from partner nations, which could provide leapfrogging opportunities in technologies, financing and project evaluation.

There is a sense of urgency in the report, which says more needs to be done to quickly and efficiently transfer these technologies to India. But Business Development Manager for the Australian Trade Commission based in Chennai, Gitesh Agarwal, cautions: “The technologies must be financially viable and tailored to the local market”.

Australian companies and investors can now enter into a joint venture in India not only for manufacturing renewable energy (RE) devices or products but also for manufacturing RE-based power generation projects on “Build, Own and Operate basis”.

Manager of the India Australia Financial Forum and secretary of the Australia India Business Council (Victoria) Stephen Manallack said: “There is an opportunity to match Australia’s creativity with a market such as India. Whatever you do in India can be replicated around the world. Australia needs more government and business exchanges and mutual conferences such as this. There is enormous scope for collaborations and our countries together can bring something exceptional in the field of renewable energy.”

A sample of Australian technologies with application to India includes thin film solar technologies, solar thermal power generation, solar cooling technologies, solar PV system components, off-grid solar applications, concentrated solar power, combined heat and power solar, energy storage, waste to energy processes, wood waste processing, wind energy forecasting and small hydroelectric power.

Castellas, who had conceived and developed the first India Cleantech Forum, is currently leading a major international project for APP to develop a strategic action plan to increase the investment in and deployment of renewable energy in India.

As the challenges of climate change, energy security and water scarcity will increasingly require critical technological solutions for sustainable development, Cleantech has been described as “the next biggest economic opportunity and a new 21st century industry”.

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