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September 16, 2000
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Indo-US energy panel to be set up to hasten power reforms

Coming close on the heels of Indo-US decision to pump in $7 billion in the power sector in India, the two countries have agreed to establish a working group on energy to hasten reforms in the field.

A memorandum of understanding, signed between the US Department of Energy and Indian Ministry of Power during Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's visit to Washington, provides for setting up the group for exchange of information and consultation on energy issues, including technology upgradation.

The group will identify, initiate and monitor public and private collaboration projects and review policies in areas of clean and renewable energy, energy efficiency and power sector reforms.

It would also explore and expand opportunities for commercial development and co-operation in clean energy.

The MoU was signed by US Deputy Secretary for energy T J Glauthier and power secretary A K Basu.

A protocol of intent was also signed between the Power Ministry and United States Assistance for International Development, in which both parties have agreed to co-operate in a major capacity building exercise for power sector personnel in India with a focus on modern power system planning and development, electricity generation, transmission and distribution and efficient utilisation of energy end-use.

Through another protocol of intent, the US and India have agreed to collaborate in conducting a detailed technical and economic feasibility for setting up a commercial scale integrated gasification combined cycle demonstration power plant at one of the National Thermal Power Corporation power plants in India.

The study would seek to establish the most suitable IGCC technology for Indian coal and environmental conditions and explore possible financing structures to make the technology most competitive for India.

The agreements were signed for three large power projects including for development of Hirma project in Orissa involving an investment of more than $4.5 billion and the second project to develop the Ennore LNG in Tamil Nadu for 1850 mw with an investment of nearly $2 billion.

Both the above projects are expected to be commissioned within next four years.

The third project for which an agreement was signed is for the 330 mw Srinagar Hydel Project in Uttar Pradesh being jointly developed by Synergies Energy Development of US and Duncans India Limited with an investment of $500 million.

All three projects are estimated to involve a total investment of $7 billion of which nearly $4 billion will be in the form of foreign investment.

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