Tamil Nadu and Massachusetts are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) shortly in the area of renewable and clean energy.
An 11-member team of senior officials from the U.S. State visited Tamil Nadu in the third week of October where the draft of the MoU was exchanged. The team met representatives of the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation (Tangedco), Energy and Industries departments, Anna University and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), said a Tangedco official. The Indo-American Chamber of Commerce was also a participant in the meetings.
Apart from Tamil Nadu, there are other States in the country that have partnerships with States in the U.S. Among them are Telangana (with New Jersey), Rajasthan (with Utah) and Gujarat (with Colarado).
Labelled “non-binding”, the proposed MoU facilitates exchange of ideas and experiences in three areas: policy dialogue, research and development and industrial investment. In the area of policy dialogue, discussions will touch upon subjects such as energy transition policy, a concept that envisages smooth transition from conventional sources to renewable sources of energy.
The idea of an energy transition policy is expected to hold greater relevance for Tamil Nadu, whose installed capacity for windmills is around 8,500 megawatt (MW) and solar plants, 3,600 MW.
As for R&D, institutions of higher learning other than Anna University and IIT can also be part of collaborative projects that may be planned. From the other side, as of now, the University of Massachusetts is taking part in the overall programme. In the field of industrial investment, Tamil Nadu is keen on drawing lessons from the American concept of incubators, providing space and other forms of support to startups for carrying out projects in clean energy.
Meanwhile, Tangedco is about to finalise a tender for “smart meters” in a few weeks. Initially, 1.4 lakh such meters will be installed in T. Nagar, Chennai. The meters provide for remote-controlled disconnection of services and interface with mobile devices, the official added.