India Australia Energy Security Dialogue Held at Canberra
Shri Piyush Goyal thanked Mr Josh Frydenberg and appraised about the extensive Business to Business roundtables and meetings held so far at Brisbane and Sydney. Shri Goyal emphasised the need to make the Energy Dialogue a regular feature with alternate year meetings in each of the two countries . He also proposed that in order to have an outcome orientation during the dialogue, five new working groups be set up in the energy field viz 1) Renewables and grid integration; 2) Clean Coal technologies for efficient power generation; 3) Energy Skill development; 4) LNG and Coal Gasification including Coal Bed Methane (CBM) and 5) Energy efficiency and Smart grids. Mr Frydenberg welcome the idea and asked the officials to prepare a blue print on the same.
Highlighting the opportunities in the Indian energy sector, Shri Goyal pointed out that if the price of LNG could be brought down to an affordable rate then India could provide an assured off-take for Australian Gas and this would also help safeguard Australian investments. In his response, Mr Frydenberg said that while the Australian Government could not determine prices of gas, a regulatory framework could be worked out which can facilitate lower prices through vertical integration.
Throwing light on the power situation in India, Shri Goyal said that more than 20% of the population did not have access to electricity and providing energy security for all through affordable energy was a priority. Therefore if other alternative sources of energy were not available at an affordable rate then India would have to continue relying on Coal. The poor of India cannot pay for more than 150 years of emissions by the developing world. Even now the per capita consumption of coal in India was at the levels of USA 150 years back in 1870. However, building a sustainable planet for future generations is a priority for Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and India would lead the world in clean energy too, Shri Goyal added.
Shri Piyush Goyal also declared that as per the directions of the Hon’ble Prime Minister all the villages of India must be electrified within 1000 days from 15th August, 2015. Of the 18, 542 un-electrified villages as on 1st April, 2015, more than 5,000 have been already electrified. He highlighted India’s usage of transparent data dissemination through apps so that public can be aware of electrification and energy efficiency (LED bulb) programmes and can hold government accountable.
Welcoming Indian investments in Australia, Mr Frydenberg highlighted that the Australian Government was looking at ways to address procedural issues faced by certain investors. Shri Piyush Goyal thanked the Australian side for their support and said this was appreciated and also pointed out that Indian investments to tap the natural resources of Australia would also create thousands of jobs.
Shri Goyal also thanked Australia’s active participation in International Solar Alliance, an alliance of 121 solar resource rich countries fully or partially between Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn and invited Australian government and companies to participate in building the corpus for the alliance.
The dialogue concluded with both co-leaders resolving to cooperate closely to utilize the complementary strengths of each other, namely India’s manpower and Australia’s technology and resources.