Unlocking Investment in Developing Countries

Amos J Hochstein
Special Envoy, Bureau of Energy Resources
Washington, DC
October 20, 2015

SPECIAL ENVOY HOCHSTEIN: But I would say that while we had a energy discussion with the government of India for several years, since the last elections and the new government has come into power, in India we definitely accelerated and intensified those discussions. We've made them ore specific, more goal-oriented. And we've had a much more intensive discussion on some of the areas where we can work together on.

CHAIRMAN MICHAEL LIEBRICH: Could you give an idea of the scope of those discussions? You've talked about the areas, you've talked about the agencies. But give us an idea of the sort of the range of discussions, either by technology sector or by topic that those discussions-- what falls into the-- what's the boundary of the US-India dialogue--

SPECIAL ENVOY HOCHSTEIN: It's boundless. It's whatever--

CHAIRMAN MICHAEL LIEBRICH: Everything is energy. But help us here.

SPECIAL ENVOY HOCHSTEIN: Well, I think if you divide it up into finance, infrastructure, and the third bucket would be effectiveness and efficiency, let's say. I think that those would be three buckets that we would see most of our interaction with the government of India would fit into those three lines. And they're interdependent.

In other words, you can look at-- as we want to enhance renewable energy-- you can look at the finance piece, which is critically important and more of a barrier than it is an enhancement at the moment. And thinking of ways to get around that. If you look at the infrastructure side, people in the press and conferences like to talk about renewable energy.

But the hard facts are that you can't simply just look at how to bring on more renewable energy without also worrying about the grid and the infrastructure and the distribution side. Because in the previous government when there was a massive blackout, it wasn't for a lack of generation capacity. It was because of the infrastructure. So you have to look at the infrastructure.

And then India is unique. There are as many people off grid in India than there are more than there are people in the United States altogether. So you have to look at really creative solutions to look at how to use new technology, not to repeat and try to go into using old paradigms, but addressing those.

I would say that our engagement really is across those three areas. I think we're still trying to make specific goals that we can achieve together. I think remarkably, India and the United States have some similarities in our operations, as different as we are. We both have a federal and state system that have to deal with each other.

So we have to look at all those different things. And we're organized in trying to bring and harness the expertise across the US government to be able to support and to enhance the dialogue.

CHAIRMAN MICHAEL LIEBRICH: And is there a specific technology transfer piece to this or does that fall then-- you just mentioned sort of the infrastructure-- is that how you see it? It's going to be a part of that? Or is that--

SPECIAL ENVOY HOCHSTEIN: Well, I think when you look at the travels of senior government officials from India, they don't only come to Washington these days. They go to northern California and talk to some-- I think what we bring to the table, obviously the United States is what is happening at the labs and some of the research and development that's happening through the US government. But most importantly, from the private sector and leveraging the US private sector innovation to support what is uniquely Indian issues and concerns and how to manage that.