Sunday, December 20, 2009

Cleantech industry in India-Quo Vadis?

Earlier this week, I was fortunate to attend a one day Cleantech conference . Organized by TiE Hyderabad, and slated to be the largest gathering of Cleantech companies in India, it was a great chance for me to get a ringside view into a 'unsung' domain.

Very professionally managed, there were about 175 delegates-in an ecosystem that allowed about 27 companies make presentations about their business initiatives, plans and challenge, and about a dozen investing companies-apart from the other entrepreneurs/wannabees who used the opportunity to network!

To me, a layman, it was an extremely enlightening day! And as the day progressed, I was able to relate to the different specialisations of the Clean tech world-in four different sessions dedicated to

a) Energy Efficiency,
b) Smart Grids
c) Recycling and Transport, and
d) Renewable Energy

Each session had about 4-5 companies making presentations. And what was unique was that-almost all of them had been in operation for over 5-15years-not just able to sustain themselves, but gearing themselves as Globalisation is throwing open 'Green World' initiatives.

There were two other macro level presentations-by Ashok Das of The World Bank and Razvan Maximiuc of The Cleantech group -who put the perspective right!

(One can access a wealth of information on Climate Technology Program here and the initiatives by Govt of India !!)

My take aways from the program?

It was indeed an eye opener. I was not aware of the magnitude of the investments being made in India-for the future!

-While the global need for new energy sources is undeniable, India is a major focal point of new energy development with a likely investment of over a 100billion USD expected!!
- With over 200 clear sunny days in most parts, India can become a Solar Energy superpower by 2022-by its sheer size and considering that only 2% of the potential has been tapped by now.
- The barriers hitherto for growth of Cleantech in India, namely 'lack of capital' or 'Policy Constraints' or 'Lack of Enforcement' seem to be manage-able!

I am bullish now, more than ever, that finding high-quality management teams with operating experience and business acumen is no longer a major challenge. Much of the human capital in cleantech companies in the US and Europe employ talented Indian-born engineers and executives migrating from telecom and IT into cleantech.

And yes, there is a huge opportunity to lure some in the Indian diaspora, either NRIs (non-resident Indians) or Indian-origin foreign nationals, to return to India to participate in this growth sector :-)!!

PS- Here are a couple of entrepreneurs-who found the conference exciting -or in their own words.... most productive and 'people talk my language, the green language'!

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