India Seeks MIT Expertise for Energy Solutions

Minister Piyush Goyal meets with MIT Energy Initiative Expertise to seek energy solutions for India.

India has recently set some of the most aggressive near-term energy goals of any nation in the world. Minister Goyal met with MIT Energy Initiative and Tata Center for Technology and Design to discuss and look for solutions that will help India meet its goals.

Goyal serves as minister for coal, power and renewable energy said, “India is embarking on most of its new development initiatives on the back of technology and that engagement with the United States has been very deep.”

One goal of India is to ensure that every part of the country gets electricity in the next 1,000 days.

There are currently 220 million people in India with no access to electricity at all, which is an estimated 50 million households. Those that do get electricity only have access for a few hours a day.

In major cities blackouts and power cuts are a common occurrence at peak usage times. Goyal is determined to make reliable 24 hours seven days a week electricity a reality in India.

“Affordability is a very integral part of our plans,” said Goyal.

India relies heavily on coal to power to power the country. Ahmed Ghoniem, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at MIT, agreed that fossil fuels are an important part of the equation for developing countries that require energy solutions immediately.

“We cannot ignore the fact that there are billions of people who need power. Their lives are in danger unless we help to get the right technology for them. And it needs to happen right now, not fifty years from now,” said Ghoniem.

One solution to the electricity problem is the potential for solar-powered micro-grid solutions that could reach remote areas. The government would need to properly incentivize companies to invest in these projects.

Goyal and MIT have decided to collaborate in order to create new technologies and policies to meet India’s electrification goals.

Goyal says, “We will make it happen.”

This is not the first time India has looked to MIT for solutions. In September, India’s business, nonprofit and government sectors attended The Tata Center for Technology and Design Annual Symposium at MIT’s Media Lab. India continues to work with MIT researchers to overcome challenges and meet opportunities in the developing world.

Jordan Connell

Sources: MIT News, Tata Center Technology and Design
Photo: Google Images