Freedom from carbon

Last year in April, I was very happy to meet Senator John Kerry at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi. President Biden has appointed him as his Special Envoy for Climate and his trip to India was focused on how the U.S. and India can partner to deliver on the goals related to climate change and limit global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees C.

It was clear to me that the Biden administration is very serious about tackling climate change and is looking at India to be its single biggest ally in this challenge — which is easily the biggest challenge of our lifetime.

What is also very clear, and a source of pride for all Indians, is the sheer admiration that the West has for India’s zeal towards greening its energy mix and specifically our vision of 450GW of renewables by 2030. As with all countries, two of our biggest challenges for achieving this is energy storage and transmission grids.

I was happy to share the experience of India and Brazil where competitive markets for Greenfield transmission have brought down costs and execution times by ~40per cent. I encouraged him to consider the same model for the U.S.

We also spoke about intercontinental grids and how connecting large grids, which are time zones apart, can be a very elegant solution for the storage problem. For example, a solar park in Egypt can sell excess green peaking power to India (given the 3.5-hour time difference) and vice versa. Our estimates show that the cost of such a submarine HVDC (high-voltage direct current) link from India to Oman, and overground to Egypt, is much less than we think.

Our actions in next 10 years will determine if humanity is able to save itself from the worst impacts of climate change, and the meeting with Senator Kerry has certainly rekindled my hope and excitement about the possibilities ahead.

Click here for Sterlite Power's vision of an Inter-Continental Grid.

Pratik Agarwal (on the right), Managing Director, Sterlite Power with Senator John Kerry, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate