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Collaboration Agreements

Volume 506: debated on Friday 5 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent collaboration agreements on energy projects have been concluded with India; and what resources have been made available to support such collaboration. (319203)

The UK recently announced a £4.9 million collaboration on solar technology, led by Research Councils UK with matched funding from the Indian Department of Science and Technology. Two projects will run for three years each with a focus on creating cheaper, more effective solar panel technology.

As part of the Joint Declaration by the UK and India on civil nuclear co-operation, the two countries have agreed to jointly encourage research collaboration in this area. The UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Indian Department of Atomic Energy will consider potential scientific areas for this enhanced collaboration at a joint meeting in the UK in March 2010. The costs of this first step will be shared between the two parties.

DFID is supporting renewable energy initiatives in remote areas through development programmes in Madhya Pradesh and Orissa. In Orissa the project is focused on provision of solar lighting and in Madhya Pradesh it is focused on biogas cooking units. These renewable initiatives are part of bigger state level programmes and comprise only a very small part of overall funding.

DFID is supporting power sector reforms in two states, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh, with an objective to achieve more efficient public sector units. The initiative in West Bengal is in partnership with the Department of Power and Non-conventional Energy Sources, Government of West Bengal (up to £11 million from June 2008 to March 2011). DFID has also supported capacity building of the power sector in West Bengal through the World Bank Trust Fund (up to $300,000 from June 2005 to March 2009). In Madhya Pradesh the power sector reforms project (2008-10, £20.4 million) supported evaluation of renewables in three key sectors (1) small scale industries, (2) municipal building and (3) water and waste water treatment. Under the next phase DFID India will be providing support to build capacity of the State Renewable Energy Agency.

DFID have also announced plans to provide the Energy and Resource Institute (TERI) with up to £10 million over the next five years. This funding will help to bring electricity and clean energy to millions of the world's poorest people by supporting renewable energy projects in India. As is routine, DFID is undertaking a full institutional assessment of TERI as part of their due diligence process before releasing funds.

Also with the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, DFID is providing £285,000 through Winrock International India to develop sustainable business models for access to energy in remote rural areas.