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OPIC Opens Renewable Energy & Clean Technology Conference

May 6, 2010

More than 260 participants in attendance

NEW DELHI, India – The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) today opened Renewable Energy & Clean Technology: Access to Investment Opportunities in Emerging Markets, an international conference intended to facilitate new U.S. private sector investment in two fast-growing sectors – renewable energy and clean technology – which hold great promise for the economic development of both the United States and developing countries.

More than 260 participants from over 26 countries, representing U.S. and emerging market businesses, leading financial institutions, and the governments of the United States and India are attending the three-day conference, which was officially opened by OPIC Acting President Dr. Lawrence Spinelli. He was joined by U.S. Ambassador to India Timothy J. Roemer and the Government of India’s Union Minister of New and Renewable Energy Dr. Farooq Abdullah.

“Opportunities for American investment in renewable energy and clean technology are nowhere greater than in emerging markets, in large part because the distribution of energy generated by fossil fuels in developing countries is often difficult and expensive,” said Dr. Spinelli. “Responding to President Obama’s call for American leadership in tapping new sources of energy, this international investment conference is OPIC’s most definitive effort yet to facilitate new American investment in renewable energy and clean technology. We have invited participants here not to take part in an academic discussion of investment opportunities, but to provide them with the tangible, real-world information and resources necessary to take advantage of those opportunities.”

The U.S. Ambassador to India Timothy J. Roemer said, “There is urgency to the global energy, environment, and climate challenges our countries face. There is a strong sense of possibility and opportunity in India where there is a tremendous need for sustainable and reliable sources of energy. During my travels in India, I’ve seen firsthand what an available and affordable clean energy source can do for a family. By working together, we can achieve our shared vision of environmentally sustainable economic growth, ensuring greater access to clean and affordable energy for all, particularly those most in need, while creating jobs and economic opportunities in both the United States and India.”  

For participants, the conference is designed to identify specific investment opportunities in the renewable energy and clean technology sectors. Industry leaders in solar, wind, hydro, biomass and clean technology development, along with investment professionals, foundation representatives, bankers, private equity managers, and U.S. and local government officials will provide insights into investment opportunities in the renewable energy and clean technology sectors in Africa, Asia, eastern Europe and Latin America, as well as financing tools available to take advantage of them.

Keynote speaker for the conference is Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the International Panel on Climate Change, which in 2007 shared the Nobel Peace Prize with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore. Other speakers include Michael Eckhart, President of the American Council on Renewable Energy; and Alexandre Chavarot, Head of Clean Energy Finance and Solar Program Coordinator for the Clinton Climate Initiative.

Investment prospects for renewable energy sectors are indeed massive. According to a 2009 report by the Renewable Energy Policy Network, between 2004 and 2008, solar photovoltaic capacity increased sixfold, wind power capacity increased 250 percent, and total power capacity from new renewables increased 75 percent. Global revenues for solar photovoltaics, wind power, and biofuels expanded from $76 billion in 2007 to $115 billion in 2008. Renewable energy is particularly suited for developing countries, where distribution of energy generated from fossil fuels is typically problematic. Kenya, for example, has the world's highest household solar ownership rate with roughly 30,000 small solar power systems sold per year.

OPIC established its Renewable Energy and Sustainable Energy Finance Group in 2008 to spearhead the agency’s efforts to identify investment prospects in emerging markets.  The new focus yielded immediate results: In fiscal year 2009, OPIC committed nearly $188 million in financing to nine renewable energy projects, in markets as diverse as India, Liberia, Afghanistan, Poland, and Honduras.  

Organizations supporting the conference are the American Association of Blacks in Energy; American Chamber of Commerce in India; American Council on Renewable Energy; Business Council for International Understanding; California-Asia Business Council; California Centers for International Trade Development; Confederation of Indian Industry; Corporate Council on Africa; Global Midwest Alliance; Greater San Jose Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce; Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Partnership; The Energy and Resources Institute; Turkish-American Business Council; U.S. Chamber of Commerce TradeRoots; U.S.-India Business Council; and the U.S.-Russia Business Council.