A stakeholder’s meet on Public-Private Cooperation for Clean Energy Innovation was held on 20th December, 2017 at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi. The stakeholder’s meet aimed at bringing together investors, industry, government, and researchers to encourage increased engagement, knowledge sharing, networking and opportunities for new collaborations. The event organized by the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) Government of India and Mission Innovation (MI) – India, was attended by key representatives from Government, Industry, Academia and Investors. A report on ‘National Consultative Workshops on Innovative Challenges for Accelerating Clean Energy Innovations’ was released which summarized Mission Innovation- India’s findings on current R&D status and gap areas across the seven Innovation Challenges.
Dr. Sangita Kasture (Joint Director-DBT) after welcoming the gathering gave an overview of Mission Innovation (MI) program which is a joint initiative of 23 countries including EU to acceleration innovation in Clean Energy. The program is coordinated by DBT as a nodal agency to coordinate national efforts in Clean Energy RD&D. She provided an update on national efforts taken under Mission Innovation and to identify key priority areas for country towards seven Innovation challenges identified by Member countries. She stressed upon the importance of business participation and increase in investment in RD&D in India to accelerate innovation in clean energy to make is accessible and affordable.
Opening the discussions Dr. Renu Swarup, Senior Adviser Department of Biotechnology suggested the involvement of industry and start-ups as a co-development partner early during development. She recommended participants to suggest few clear recommendations and consider innovative models for investment, models of delivery, and models for partnerships with member countries under the realm of mission innovation activities.
Aim of the meeting was to improve mutual understanding between public and private sectors around MI co-operation and support initiatives that can significantly accelerate clean energy innovation. This meeting helped in identifying Government and private sector partnership opportunities, funding needs, gap areas and address concerns of investors and industry partners. More than 70 participants from Industry, Investors, Academia, Start up and Policy makers attended the meet.
All seven Challenge leads presented the summary of deliberations of country workshops.
Three leading private investors -Infuse Ventures, Asha Impact and Patamar Capital) presented the Investors point of view in Clean Energy followed by presentation by three industry representatives. It came out very clearly that private sector will be keen to participate and invest in clean energy technologies; however these technologies must be proven at pilot scale. Since the markets for clean energy technologies is still to be established at desired scale, an early involvement of entrepreneurs in converting research proposals to business model is essential. Government subsidies in this area should not be directed at customers as it results in market distortion and discourages entrepreneurs. Government policies should be enabling for entrepreneurs by providing subsidized logistics, infrastructure for manpower etc. Government can create successful partnerships by providing soft skills training to R&D organizations for licensing out technologies.
Improvement of Governance of Industry-Academia partnership for delivery of results and a focus on clear-cut results/deliverables in such partnerships is essential for time bound success. Development of predictable Government policy framework will encourage private industry to invest.
An open house interactive panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Anjan Ray (CSIR-IIP) & Dr. Sanjay Bajpai (DST). Panelist included Dr. SSV Ramakumar, (IOC), Mr. Kartik Chandrasekhar (SVC), Mr. Balakumar P (AI), Dr. Satish Kumar (AEEE) & Mr. Vibhav Nuwal (REC-E). A scheme was discussed where IOC is committed to providing ‘hand holding’, intellectual and financial resources to entrepreneurs by following a monitoring and mentoring scheme, with defined deliverables at the end.
Prof K. VijayRaghavan, Secretary DBT joined during the panel discussions. In the closing session. Secretary DBT in his closing address mentioned that the progress in civilisation has resulted in the increase of carbon dioxide levels and since this is a man made phenomena, its solution also lies with us. He expressed the view that the new technology initiatives on clean energy under mission innovation could provide a lasting solution. However the speed of development has to match with the mammoth scale of the problem. Reacting to the comments & sentiments expressed in conference by industry and investors regarding need to develop technologies at reasonable pilot scale he suggested creating a base paper to seek Governmental funding for this purpose.
Dr. Renu Swarup in her closing remarks mentioned that MI calls for proposal will follow with start-up investment from the Government and the proposals can be of national or multilateral level.
The first ever meeting where investors and industry candidly discussed issues with policy makers was a huge success and the steps suggested by Secretary DBT have already been initiated and a base working paper for Government support has been prepared.