Sh Piyush Goyal Union Minister for Coal, Power and New and Renewable had an Energy Security Dialogue with Australian Minister for Resources, Energy Mr Josh Frydenberg at Canberra.
Sh 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.
Sh 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.
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.
As per the directions of the 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.
Welcoming Indian investments in Australia, Mr Frydenberg highlighted that the Australian Government was looking at ways to address procedural issues faced by certain investors. Sh 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.
The India – Australia Energy Security Dialogue was established following the visit of then Australian Prime Minister Ms. Julia Gillard to India in October, 2012.
The Dialogue was institutionalized to discuss areas of mutual interest in energy security and key issues in India and Australia’s energy markets, as well as regional and globe trends, and developments in both countries.
Two meetings of the Energy Security Dialogue were held in New Delhi and Brisbane in 2013 and 2014 respectively.