Sweden set to help India in energy transition

Sweden is working out a plan to help India to implement Article Six of the Paris Agreement to meet its net-zero emissions target before 2070 by collaborating in the heavy industries sector, mainly steel and cement, three Swedish officials told Mint.

Article Six of the Paris agreement sets out how countries can pursue voluntary cooperation to reach their climate targets. It enables international cooperation to tackle climate change and unlock financial support for developing countries. Under Article Six, countries can transfer carbon credits earned from reducing greenhouse gas emissions to help one or more countries meet their climate targets.

The development comes at a time when Indian manufacturing companies are gearing up to meet the strict rules under the European Union’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM). Indian steel companies primarily are major exporters to Europe and are looking at ways to reduce emissions and comply with these rules.

Both nations may also revise their agreement in the field of space to establish centres of excellence to bolster collaborations in technical, research & development and talent.

“With the Swedish energy agency and Vinnova, we are working together towards helping India in reaching the sustainability targets. We have conducted more than 30 workshops in several sectors. So far, we’ve chosen four— heavy industries (steel and cement), paper, pulp and automotive,” Cecilia Oskarsson, trade & invest commissioner to India at Business Sweden — The Swedish Trade & Invest Council said.

Vinnova is Sweden’s innovation agency, which strengthens Sweden’s innovative capacity and contributes to sustainable growth.

“We have four strategic country programmes. India is one of them. And we have focus on Southeast Asia as well as Germany. So, we have a specific, targeted India programme where we want to build cooperation. The work in India has been going on since 2009 and the backbone of our work here is Sweden-India innovations accelerator programme for small and mid-sized businesses that have innovative solutions related to energy,” said Ludvig Lindstrom, senior business developer, international market development at Swedish Energy Agency.

“Now, we also want to work with heavy industry, mainly steel and cement. Then we’re talking about the whole value chain from energy supply, supply of raw materials, the process itself and use the whole value chain,” Lindstrom said.

This will be under the umbrella of the Paris agreement to reduce emissions and speed up the transition, Lindstrom added.

Swedish Energy Agency is a government agency responsible for transitioning the energy system towards sustainable energy system, including everything that is fossil free.

It also includes nuclear, in which it has the full responsibility for that sector in Sweden related to policy, statistics, communication. Additionally, it is also responsible for Sweden’s work under the Paris agreement.

The Swedish Energy Agency is inclined to implement, especially Article Six of the Paris agreement to help India become carbon neutral before 2070.

“Now when we are closing the second stage of this, going into the third one, we will also see new sectors out of the 13 that we picked up more than two years ago. It will depend on the companies who are joining power,” Oskarsson replied when asked if there are more sectors they are exploring.

“Sweden and India have eleven MoUs. A big one of course is in energy, environment and sustainable urban development. We also have a very long-term MoU within space from 1986. So, that’s the one we will build the centre of excellence on,” Oskarsson informed.

“In space, a centre of excellence is being planned between government to government, between ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) and the Swedish equivalent. It’s about technical, R&D and talent collaboration within the area of space.”

A MoU between ISRO and the Swedish Board for Space Activities, now known as Swedish National Space Board, or SNSB, was signed in 1986 to provide a framework for collaborative activities and for reviewing areas of common interest in space activities and to facilitate the interchange of information, technology and personnel in areas of mutual interest.

Both countries are also exploring inter linkages in other sectors such as retail, petrochemicals, and specialty chemicals for cooperation. They are also planning to make amendments to the existing memorandums of understanding (MoUs) on renewable energy.

“We also have an agreement with the Bureau of Energy Efficiency that needs to be looked at because they have a role when it comes to Article Six. So, those three MoUs (the MoU with the ministry of new and renewable energy, the ministry of energy, environment, forest and climate change, and an agreement with the Bureau of Energy Efficiency), I think, are the first ones we need to look into. I think it would be amendments to the existing ones,” Lindstrom said.

“Though we don’t believe in MoUs for the paper itself, it might be valuable to have an MoU with the ministry of steel as well because the existing MoUs don’t really emphasize work related to heavy industries sector,” Lindstrom said.

“There are a lot of wordings that have to be agreed on in detail and you have the elections coming up. We will see what can be done at the official level before the political level comes into place, but what we know already now is that to proceed in these areas, if we want to anchor it towards the MoUs, they need to be looked over,” he said, regarding the timeline of materialising the plan.

Queries sent to the new and renewable energy, environment, forest and climate change, science & technology, heavy industries ministries and ISRO remained unanswered.

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