The United States and India virtually hosted a high-level, industry roundtable of the U.S.-India Clean Energy Finance Task Force on October 26, during the “CERA Week India Energy Forum. ” The roundtable focused on the Flexible Resources Initiative (FRI or “Free”), which was launched in New Delhi a year ago this month. FRI develops cost-effective strategies to ensure India’s power system has the flexibility to support its energy transition over the next decade, while reliably meeting surging demand for electricity.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources (ENR) Francis R. Fannon and Chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Neil Chatterjee joined India’s Chairperson of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board Dinesh Sarraf and Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Power Ghanshyam Prasad to highlight proposed regulatory changes that will improve operations of India’s gas pipeline infrastructure and gas-fired generation assets to increase electric grid flexibility. Also participating in the discussion were senior industry representatives in the gas-electric value chain, including electricity system and pipeline operators, gas-fired generation operators, oil and gas majors, and pipeline and renewable energy developers.
FRI signals new investment opportunities for a range of flexible resources in India’s power sector. If implemented, the proposed changes under FRI are expected to improve the efficiency of gas pricing for the power sector and enable more flexible operation of gas-fired generation assets to respond to system needs. FRI mobilizes a whole-of-government approach, with India’s Ministry of Power leading collaboration with Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, Central Electricity Authority, Central Electricity Regulatory Commission, and the Power System Operation Corporation, as well as the Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board. The U.S. Department of State and FERC co-lead the FRI, along with the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Agency for International Development.
FRI is also part of the broader whole-of-government Asia EDGE (Enhancing Development and Growth through Energy) initiative, in support of a shared vision for the Indo-Pacific. Asia EDGE seeks to strengthen energy security, increase energy diversification and trade, and expand energy access across the Indo-Pacific. This region is key because it will account for about 40 percent of the increase in global energy demand by 2040. India’s energy demand alone is expected to more than double over that time frame, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). India represents enormous challenges and opportunities, requiring high-level partnerships across public and private sectors.