Remarks by Mission Director Mark Anthony White at the Inaugural Workshop of India Energy Modeling Forum

Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Remarks from Mission Director Mark Anthony White at the Inaugural Workshop of India Energy Modeling Forum
Remarks from Mission Director Mark Anthony White at the Inaugural Workshop of India Energy Modeling Forum
USAID/India

(As prepared for delivery)

Good morning distinguished members of the audience.

People who know me will tell you that I’m an optimist - someone who always sees the glass half full. But on days like these, when you feel excited about the possibilities that the future may bring because of our actions today, I see that the whole glass is full.

Today we launch a new phase of the U.S.-India energy cooperation, one which will take this partnership to the next level by enhancing India’s ability to incorporate robust analysis into energy and environmental decision-making.

Analysis and data are key to making future development choices in a complex world. It’s what big companies and economies around the world focus on to deliver value. So we wondered, why not in the energy sector which is so much more complex and can benefit from better use of data and analytics to improve planning for the future.

Recognizing this, in 2013, our governments launched collaboration under what is now the Sustainable Growth Pillar of the elevated U.S.-India Strategic Energy Partnership. This collaboration is making significant advances in India’s ability to analyze energy policies and options using more robust data. A really exciting piece of this collaboration is the way many agencies across India, through NITI Aayog’s leadership, have gotten involved.

We are very proud of our partnership with the NITI Aayog. Through the Sustainable Growth Pillar of our collaboration, we have worked to improve energy data management in India, sharing best practices from the U.S., and gaining a deep understanding of the existing energy data in India. A key contribution has been bringing together all the existing energy data agencies on a common platform so that they can harmonize their methods and improve data access. To highlight a few accomplishments of this collaboration, we collaborated to improve data on coal, natural gas, and oil. We have also worked on options for improving energy consumption data. The U.S. Energy Information Agency, at the Department of Energy, has also been pleased to share its expertise as part of this effort.

Our other focus under this collaboration has been strengthening the analysis legwork. Later today, you will be hearing from our partners who will release a major report on energy, transportation and air quality. This report represents a team effort to harmonize assumptions across a range of models, incorporating best practices, in order to provide clearer analysis to policymakers. Four Indian research teams collaborated with the U.S.-based Pacific Northwest National Laboratory on this first-of-its-kind joint study.

Mr. Kant, your remarks at the launch of the National Clean Air Program at MOEFCC recently, really demonstrates NITI Aayog’s thought leadership and commitment for the cause. I hope our future collaboration can focus more strongly on air pollution issues.

We have also collaborated on critical linkages between energy, air, water, land use, and food. This includes high-quality research on water’s impacts on power development in India. We also launched new water analysis tools for India last year. These publicly available tools, developed by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, can help Indian institutions better understand future water availability and demand, and how that links to energy and land use choices.

In addition, USAID and NITI Aayog have jointly worked on important geospatial tools and data to improve investment decisions on renewable energy.

As we move ahead, today’s meeting represents an exciting new development in our collaboration. The goal of this meeting is to launch a sustained India Energy Modeling Forum. In the U.S. and elsewhere around the globe, modeling forums have proven important meeting places to coordinate research and link it with policymakers and industry.

We are excited to welcome a range of ministries, industry organizations, research organizations, and international partners. Bringing together all these research threads under one large tent will help amplify the impact of the work, the speed of learning, and the ability of all of us to use robust analysis to shape our energy future for the better.

Last week, USAID hosted a delegation from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to the United States, led by MNRE Secretary Mr. Anand Kumar for the first meeting of the Renewable Energy Pillar under the U.S.-India Strategic Energy Partnership.

We are working with Mr. Gupta and his team to have a similar visit by the NITI Aayog to formalize the Sustainable Growth Pillar, co-led by USAID and the NITI Aayog.

The visit of MNRE further reinforced three things:

First, that the decisions made today have a long-term impact;

Second, with the advancement of technologies, the energy sector is transforming very fast. For example, energy storage and renewables are expected to not only change the landscape of the electricity sector, but they will also change the transport sector in a big way;

And third, the energy and economic sectors are becoming more and more inter-connected. For example, the deployment of rooftop solar is expected to change the demand profile for distribution utilities. Energy storage will improve the ability to utilize a variety of renewable resources, etc.

This really highlights the importance of our collaboration with the NITI Aayog, where modeling could help make more robust decisions in a complex interconnected world by incorporating a variety of factors. It can also help us realistically foresee the future under various scenarios, and how one sector influences the other. We need the greater engagement of various actors, better modeling capacities within India and quality data for integrated decision-making across sectors.

The India Energy Modeling Forum will provide this platform.

Through our co-chairships of the Sustainable Growth Pillar and this workshop, we are strongly committed to this effort and partnership. This forum is one of the tools that will give the policymaking leadership of NITI Aayog the critical analytical capacity needed to lead India into a low carbon and economically prosperous future.

Energy is central to everything we do – it is the force that enables our economies to grow and thrive. It helps us achieve sustainable economic growth and is critical to our global security. The United States of America has been integrally involved with India’s energy journey.

Over the past five decades, USAID’s development cooperation with India has evolved from helping to construct power plants to modernizing India’s power system and increasing the deployment of clean energy technologies. Now our engagement has moved from development cooperation to partnership, where we cooperate and learn from each other as we step into a smarter future filled with smarter technologies. We will continue to work with India in making equally smart energy choices, backed by robust data and clear analyses of course.

Lastly, in our vision, we will also like to see our cooperation expanding further to benefit other countries in the Indo-Pacific region to enhance the economic and energy security, and establish India’s leadership. I would also like to encourage all of us to explore the utility of the Energy Modeling Forum in the regional context. 

We would like to thank our great partner and collaborator, NITI Aayog, both for hosting this meeting and for co-organizing this Forum as part of our bilateral cooperation on energy. I would also like to thank and congratulate all of you for coming here today for this important inaugural meeting.

Thank You!

New Delhi
Issuing Country 

Last updated: September 03, 2020

Share This Page