Clean Energy Conference to Bring Together Prominent Leaders from U.S. and India

Clean Energy Conference to Bring Together Prominent Leaders from U.S. and India

Media Contact:  Public Affairs, 212-854-2650,  [email protected]

New York, Aug. 2, 2011—Leaders from government, academia, and industry will gather in New Delhi on Aug. 4 for a summit to discuss ways India can meet its rising power needs with clean energy.

Columbia Law School's Center for Climate Change Law organized the Green India, Clean India conference in conjunction with The New Indian Express Group to help facilitate U.S. investment in the clean-energy sector. The gathering comes amid an increased focus by the Obama administration—and U.S. businesses—on India’s efforts to pursue clean energy projects that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide global investment opportunities.

By 2030, India is likely to have a gross domestic product of $4 trillion and a population of 1.5 billion, according to a McKinsey & Co. report. The study also estimates that $1.1 trillion in investment is needed by India to install clean power and reduce substantial carbon dioxide emissions.

“India has one of the world’s fastest growing economies, and with that comes a tremendous need for energy,” said Michael Gerrard, the Andrew Sabin Professor of Professional Practice at Columbia Law School and director of the Center for Climate Change Law.  “There are a number of practical barriers that must be overcome, and an event like this can provide important solutions to surmounting those obstacles.”

The conference follows recent visits to India by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other U.S. officials as part of the U.S.-India Strategic Dialogue. As part of efforts to boost clean energy initiatives, the Overseas Private Investment Corp (OPIC), a government agency, recently announced plans to invest up to $820 million in the Indian renewable energy sector by the end of year 2011.

The conference will feature presentations by Jeffrey Sachs, Director of The Earth Institute, Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University, and R.K. Pachauri, chairman of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize along with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore in 2007.

Other key speakers include:

  • Montek S. Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission in India, and formerly the first director of the Independent Evaluation Office at the International Monetary Fund;
  • Jairam Ramesh, secretary of the Economic Affairs Department of the Congress Party in New Delhi and previously head of India’s Ministry of Environment and Forests; and
  • Y.S. Chowdary, chairman of the $1.7 billion Sujana Group and member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), as well as other chief executive officers of industry conglomerates in steel and energy.

Among the topics to be discussed at the summit are:

  • U.S.-India cross-border investment challenges and opportunities;
  • legal and regulatory obstacles;
  • the key ways in which the federal and state government intend to develop solutions to these barriers.

A panel that includes attorneys from The New York City office of Weil Gotshal & Manges will address the legal and regulatory obstacles facing investments from the U.S.

“This conference is unique in that we have brought together cabinet ministers from renewable energy, environment, and power, along with industry CEOs and academic scholars to brainstorm ideas on sustainable growth and greater clean-energy productivity,” said Aarthi S. Anand, research scholar at Columbia Law School, and the project’s director. “These are the leaders who can make decisions that will propel India’s pursuit of clean energy forward.”

A final goal of the conference is to solicit insight and feedback necessary to create templates of the contracts and other legal documents needed for U.S. investment in Indian clean energy projects. When finalized, the Law School will make the documents available online, allowing parties to make deal-specific alterations and reduce transaction costs.

Earlier in the year, the Sujana Group provided a $485,000 grant to help fund the Clean Energy Investment-U.S. India Project.

For more information on the conference, visit

                          # # #
Columbia Law School, founded in 1858, stands at the forefront of legal education and of the law in a global society. Columbia Law School joins its traditional strengths in international and comparative law, constitutional law, administrative law, business law and human rights law with pioneering work in the areas of intellectual property, digital technology, sexuality and gender, criminal, national security, and environmental law.
Visit us:
Follow us on Twitter