Climate Solver launched in India – the potential hotbed for climate innovation

Climate Solver launched in India – the potential hotbed for climate innovation

Four new Indian Climate Solvers join the existing list of inspiring climate innovations:

Gram Power India - Smart Microgrid

Enfragy Solutions India - Bio-pellet based fuel efficient cookstove 

Green India Building Systems & Solutions (GIBSS) - Geothermal Building Cooling System

Toro Cooling Systems - Air to Air Heat Exchanger

WWF's Stefan Henningsson was at the launch and shares his experience with us here:

Holi, the Festival of Colors is now taking place in India, which seems like a reflection of the bright colors of climate and energy entrepreneurship I have seen on display during a fascinating week in India.

I have seen the poorest communities in Sunderbans that now have an association of solar empowered women creating new local business models. They are selling solar charged batteries to the local market, and in that way generating a steady income to an otherwise very poor village. You can now access printing and copying services at the local market as there is a steady stream of charged batteries available for local merchants to run laptops and printers.     

I have also participated in the first Climate Solver award ceremony in New Delhi. Four colorful entrepreneurs were chosen by the jury as examples of the growing number of SME solution providers with disruptive, resource efficient solutions and new business models. These examples bring into question the old thinking and common practice of wasting huge amounts of energy derived from fossil resources. The awards were part of a Business Response to Climate Change seminar co-organized by WWF, Confederation of Indian Industries, Carbon Disclosure Project and British High Commission.    

Suresh Prabhu, Chairman, Council for Energy, Environment & Water, honored the event with his presence and pointed out the importance of thinking in new ways in order to solve urgent environmental problems. Climate Solver is an example of this new way of thinking. He also pointed out the importance of water innovations and water efficiency as integral part of any solution for the future, especially in a country like India. 

The myriad of climate innovations coming from SMEs needs to be mainstreamed by corporates with the help of enabling policies and investments. As Ravi Singh, Secretary General & CEO for WWF India put it: “Innovation is typically a new way of doing something while increasing the value for a customer. WWF believes that this customer value must include radically reduced carbon emissions, energy access and compatibility with a transition to a renewable energy future.” A scenario of such a future is described in WWF’s Energy Report for 100% Renewable Energy globally by 2050. Achieving this is a quest for the corporate, investor and policy community where the disruptive solutions stemming from smaller game-changers will be key in creating this added value. 

I presented WWF’s view on the necessity of transitioning towards a 100% renewable energy future. I also presented India’s profile in Global Cleantech Innovation Index where India placed 6th out of the G20 countries, and was shown to have  the potential to become a true hotspot for cleantech innovation in the future. According to the index India’s booming economy, huge domestic market, good renewable resources and good ability to quickly scale up cleantech are all very promising though at the moment there are clear weaknesses at earlier stages of cleantech development.

Ashish Khanna, India Energy Team Leader at the World Bank, concluded his session with “India could become the hotbed for cleantech innovation”. The very latest market data on clean energy investments in India that came out after the event is of concern however. Clean energy investments in India fell 53% between 2011 and 2012 and are now at 6.3 billion dollars according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. If the Government incentive schemes are not reinforced and improved cleantech innovation potential of India is at risk.      

It was natural in our Climate Solver award launch in India to include and emphasis on energy access solutions. Over 400 million people in India, which is nearly half of those living in India’s rural areas, still have no access to electricity which is a key for sustainable development.

- Stefan Henningsson, Senior Adviser Climate Innovation, WWF

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