India's power industry is great opportunity for Midland and UK firms

Jan 13, 2005 01:00 AM

West Midlands businesses involved in Britain's fast-growing renewable energy sector should target India's power industry, according to law firm Martineau Johnson's head of energy, Andrew Whitehead.
A recent tour of the subcontinent saw Mr Whitehead meet Indian businessmen and senior officials of the state electricity regulators in Delhi and Maharashtra, and the central electricity regulatory commission in Delhi. He believes India has significant potential for alternative energy sources, particularly biomass and waste to energy, and the renewables sector generally is set to experience massive growth.

“'India has a chronic power shortage, with an increasing demand that far outweighs its supply capability, and this is an ideal opportunity for West Midlands businesses looking to expand their operations,” said Mr Whitehead.
“If India's power sector is to keep up with its energy needs, huge investment in new generation capacity and network infrastructure is necessary. Developed countries like the UK can play their part. India has recognised its environmental responsibilities and is progressing a prioritised programme of modernisation and efficiency improvements for its industry, together with a commitment to developing more renewable generation capacity. But it is heavily reliant on overseas technology.”

Russia's recent endorsement of the Kyoto Protocol, which enables it to come into force next year, will also provide a boost to India's development programme.
“Indian projects which qualify under the Kyoto Protocol's 'clean development mechanism' could attract significant revenue from the sale of emissions reduction credits,” said Mr Whitehead. “This could make some economically unsound projects financially viable, especially if, as predicted, prices in the market go up in light of Russian ratification.”

“Furthermore, the coming into force of the EU emissions trading scheme in January next year should stimulate demand for Kyoto credits -- under a recent EU Directive, companies can use these credits towards meeting their emissions reduction targets under the EU scheme.”
“Add to this the demand from several European governments who plan to purchase Kyoto credits on a large scale, and the new carbon emission caps being mooted in Canada and Japan, and you get a clear picture of the considerable market forces building up in favour of clean energy projects in India.”

Mr Whitehead reckons that, against this favourable background, biomass and waste to energy in particular, should prove especially appealing.
He went on: “The availability of raw material and the small scale of the operations and technology required for a biomass project to operate effectively makes it ideal for the Indian power industry.”
“Currently, as a result of inadequate infrastructure and generation capacity, vast swathes of India are in need of electrification, and a relatively small biomass plant, utilising local resources, is an excellent way of providing power for a village or community.”

He added: “Thereis massive potential for West Midlands and UK firms to take advantage of India's need for skills, technology and experience in the area of renewables. India is a massive country, with a rapidly growing population and economy, and the opportunities for developers, manufacturers, suppliers and funders are not hard to find.”
“And the potential for a project to generate Kyoto emissions reduction credits should provide encouragement for firms to get in on the act.”

Source: The Birmingham Post
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