India and Japan have been long considered as global stalwarts in ensuring energy security and the cooperation between the two energy giants has now been further deepened and strengthened which now provides a global impetus with regards to energy cooperation. In the recent 10th meeting of the India - Japan Energy Dialogue, both states have reaffirmed the importance of energy transitions to improve the “3E+S” (Energy Security, Economic Efficiency, and Environment + Safety) and therefore reconfirmed the importance of innovation in the fields of hydrogen, carbon recycling and sequestration in sustainable and clean energy systems.
In the light of ensuring the sustenance of this bilateral cooperation, Ananta Aspen Centre in collaboration with The Nippon Foundation conducted a digital session titled “Reshaping Asia’s Energy Future: Indo-Japanese Energy Cooperation” with Mr. Hirofumi Katase, Executive Vice Chairman and member of the Board, I-Pulse and Dr. Ajay Mathur, Director General, The Energy and Resources Institute as the key speakers. This session was chaired by Mr. James Abraham, Founder, and Director, SolarArise.
The modern geopolitical backdrop remains dynamic with systematic changes occurring around the world especially in the energy sector. The energy sector is now considered as a key sector for collaboration not only due to excessive global usage of fossil fuels which are exacerbating the perils of global warming but also, they offer our world a chance towards reinventing, restructuring, and reshaping the way we consume different sources of energy. Energy security in modernity focuses on investing in renewable sources of energy. Japan since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011 has restructured its energy consumption pattern, and has focused its attention towards investing and yielding ultimate efficiency from renewable sources of energy than drawing outputs from large nuclear plants which not only endanger the lives of millions living around the plant but also threaten with excessive nuclear wastage. Likewise, India being home to over 1.3 billion people draws higher energy, needs to keep up with the increasing demand in a cleaner, greener, and more efficient way. Hence, the bilateral energy cooperation between the two Asian giants could set forth a precedent in both Asian and Global energy collaboration by restructuring the energy portfolio.
The Indo-Japan energy corporation is now unfolding a new chapter under the aegis of strategic cooperation based on sustainable development. The newly elected Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has recently announced his new policy to work towards a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. To achieve such an ambitious yet arduous goal, innovation is the key. India and Japan need to lay greater emphasis on learning to maximize and innovate new forms of technology which propel the global energy conundrum towards a more viable and sustainable approach that safeguards the future of our successors.
A major areas of collaboration could be the usage of renewable energy to produce electricity. People tend to focus on the sources of renewable energy such as Photovoltaic (PV) or wind power. The larger outcome is to yield and disseminate greater electrical energy from such renewable sources. Currently, this is an area which needs greater focus and requires a sterner governmental effort. The current Indo-Japan energy cooperation is in its preliminary stages however both sides have been showing promising signs of development which could soon ensure a larger percentage of electrical demands being generated from various renewable sources.
The second key area of collaboration is the usage and integration of Hydrogen based technology in our daily lives. Hydrogen is important for varied reasons: firstly, it is used in the transport and automobile industry in the form of Battery electric vehicles (BEV) which will be effective for passenger cars. Secondly, the usage of hydrogen when combined with oxygen in a fuel cell results in the generation of electricity which can be used in multifarious ways effective in reducing pollution. Thirdly, hydrogen can be produced and generated from numerous sources rather than one which helps in both the production and distribution of hydrogen-based technologies. Hence, both the countries have just started discussing and negotiating in this area which needs acceleration to witness any productive outcome.
The third area is achieving and optimising energy efficiency. Now, both India and Japan are working together to combine India’s Perform Achieve and Trade (PAT) Scheme and the Japanese sectorial knowledge for improved energy efficiency. Such an approach is an important part of the bilateral cooperation as the sectoral approach is better to tackle the challenges of global warming. This collaboration will have a longstanding impact which can help create a foundational mechanism to further accelerate and demonstrate progress in all the efforts listed. Today, there is increased cooperation in the energy efficiency sector. Most of such improvements have occurred in the steel industry and the top recovery turbines with the infusion of Japanese technology.
The Strategic Partnership between India and Japan has fostered greater cooperation in the energy sector which has enabled the Japanese technologies to venture into the strong and demanding markets of India. Energy cooperation is an area where the relationship can grow progressively while consequently allowing for private collaboration between the various companies established in India and Japan. For instance, the Maruti- Suzuki collaboration has set a benchmark for camaraderie in the automobile industry which remains unmatched. Today, the greatest amount of electricity demand in India is driven by air conditioners. The best-selling air conditioner is the energy-efficient Daikin air conditioner, a Japanese product, has garnered its place in the majority of Indian households and commercial spaces.
Finally, cooperation in the civil nuclear energy area should also be part of the bilateral dialogue between India and Japan. Nuclear energy has its perils but also remains one of the most effective ways of generating consumable energy. The bilateral energy cooperation is a matter of great pride and significance to both India and Japan as the quest for finding the road towards renewable energy remains stronger than ever before not only to lead by example but also to focus on their respective policies of self-reliance. The new decade should mark a new chapter in Indo – Japanese relations which lays significant emphasis on a carbon-free relationship between the two Asian giants.
This digital session was a part of a series on “India-Japan Partnership Perspectives”
Please watch the full session on the Ananta Aspen Centre Website