The Foreign Service Journal - July/August 2017
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up with an innovative competitive model to spur public-private

cooperation. DOE pledged $25 million over five years to fund

three consortia with the best proposals to advance break-

throughs in solar energy, biofuels and energy-efficient buildings.

The Indian Ministry of Science and Technology matched the U.S.


Because consortia had to commit their own financial

resources (equal to the combined public bilateral commitment),

they attracted labs and academic institutions working with

companies seeking to commercialize cutting-edge innovations

within a relatively short timeframe. All told, the $25 million con-

tribution of each government leveraged a three-part, $100-mil-

lion collaborative research program involving scores of organiza-

tions and companies from both countries.

As this competition got underway, a nongovernmental

organization (NGO) approached Embassy New Delhi to voice

concern that the expertise of Indian environmental organiza-

tions was not sufficiently included. The NGO was prepared to go

public with its condemnation; but instead, we enlisted its aid to

spread the word about the funding opportunity. That ultimately

induced many more Indian stakeholders to sign on as consor-

tium partners.

A remarkable 27 consortia competed for the awards. While

we could only fund three of the groups, the remaining 24 built

up relationships with one another that did not exist before.

Four years later, U.S. and Indian officials announced they would

extend the existing consortia for another five years and launch a

new, fourth consortium to focus on smart grid and energy stor-

age technology. This willingness not only to keep the program

going, but also to expand investment in cooperative clean energy

R&D reflects the durability of the collaborative model PACE cre-


Diplomacy in Action

The success of the R&D prong is perhaps even more appar-

ent in the proliferation of finance and deployment initiatives of

PACE. Since its inception, multiple new finance mechanisms

have been initiated to complement the original Clean Energy

Finance Center. These include a finance coordination hub, a

finance task force, and investment facilities for everything from

large-scale power purchase agreements to smaller-scale financ-

ing to improve energy access, rooftop solar uptake and rural

micro-grid development.

For its part, the PACE-D team helped develop the regulatory

frameworks, skilled labor pool and business models needed

to scale up rooftop solar projects and promoted adoption of

energy-efficient building

standards, since much of

India’s infrastructure has

yet to be built. India has

since deployed some 230

million energy-efficient

lights and is setting global

lighting test standards. This

extensive joint engage-

ment has enabled emerging

American clean energy

companies to expand their

markets, while contributing

to a shared clean-energy


It is no accident that

the same U.S. company

that installed India’s first

grid-connected commer-

cial solar power plant has

now installed about one

gigawatt of solar capacity

(comparable to that of a

The Titagarh Generating Station in Kolkata, built in 1983, is a 240-megawatt coal-fired power plant.

About 75 percent of India’s electricity is produced by coal-fired plants.