States’ Forum: Dialogue on Renewable Energy Integration

November 5, 2020 • 9:00 – 10:30 am EST

In both the United States and India, states are well positioned to serve a leadership role in advancing clean energy objectives. Central governments take the lead in shaping national commitments on climate change and related diplomatic negotiations. However, it often falls to the states and subnational entities to implement these targets. And in some cases, sub-national entities choose to do more than what is charted out by their respective central governments. It is thus important to create an environment conducive for states to proactively create external linkages with national and sub-national actors in the wider world and engage peers to learn how other subnational entities have successfully initiated programs to reduce carbon footprints. Building on years of partnership to connect Indian and U.S. subnational entities, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), hosted an inaugural U.S.-Indian States Clean Energy Leadership Forum to encourage the exchange of best practices on pressing clean energy opportunities and challenges.

Renewable energy generation is a mainstay of decarbonization policy. Increasingly, utilities are adopting higher penetration of distributed energy systems. Renewable energy presents intermittent production that poses new challenges to grid integration. This forum, supported by the SED Fund, brought together states to explore implications of this shift in traditional grid and exchange ideas on core elements of states’ preparedness to support such a transition.

The forum acknowledged the participation of seven U.S. states and six Indian states. Among those present were officials from the state of Michigan, the Mississippi Development Authority, the Colorado Energy Office, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, the California Energy Commission, U.S. Bureau of Energy Resources, Department of State, Department of Energy, and the Indian states of Karnataka, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, and Chhattisgarh.

The event was structured in three parts. It opened with a brief overview by CSIS experts, showcasing the goals of the forum and emphasizing relevance of learning from the energy trends underway in the United States to introduce solutions to Indian jurisdictions. The importance of subnational collaboration between the two countries was highlighted. The second phase of the discussion was led by state energy leaders from New York, California, Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh. While California and New York showcased their states’ lessons and challenges in the integration of renewables, and the practices and policies used to incentivize renewable energy investment, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh discussed the steps taken to ensure reliability of power generation, challenges faced in the renewable energy integration to the grid. This was followed by a Q&A session in which participating states shared their own success stories and lessons learned.

The event concluded with special remarks by the U.S. Bureau of Energy Resources and Department of State, where several ongoing national-sub-national collaborations were showcased. While the State Department primarily engages with the federal government in India, they are increasingly engaging with several Indian states was highlighted.

The following areas were identified as “potential areas of collaboration”:

  • Strategies for retiring aging/redundant thermal power plants.
  • Energy Storage
  • Data Analytics
  • Optimal Scheduling and Load Dispatch
  • Adoption of renewable energy
  • Demand and Supply Forecasting
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Sarah Ladislaw

Sarah Ladislaw

Former Senior Associate (Non-resident), Energy Security and Climate Change Program
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Neelima Jain
Deputy Director and Senior Fellow, Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies
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Afeena Ashfaque
Associate Director, Wadhwani Chair in U.S. – India Policy Studies
Director, Markets and Innovation at New York State Department of Public Service

Mahendra Jain

Additional Chief Secretary, Government of Karnataka

Sanjay Dubey

Principal Secretary Energy, Government of Madhya Pradesh