European nations are increasingly looking forward to tieups
with India in the field of renewable energy. Belgium’s
Deputy Prime Minister and Federal Minister of Foreign
Affairs, Foreign Trade, Didier Reynders speaks to Ankita
Sharma about his country’s interests in India and the scope of
What are your plans for India and
what are your areas of interest?
Our main area of interest is diamonds
for which we are signing a deal in
Mumbai. We are looking forward to
our association in the infrastructure
segment as well. We have signed a
memorandum of understanding (MoU)
for roads and are also looking at
airways. The third area of interest is
new technologies in renewable energy
sector. We are looking at possibilities
on how we can partner with India
on solar, onshore and offshore wind.
Biomass is also a technology of
interest. We have one of the biggest
solar plants in South Africa. We are
working to see if that can also be done
in India. We are also looking forward
to signing an agreement with the
ministry of power to start a framework
for sharing technology on the same.
How do you plan to promote
trade between India
The idea is to come to India with
our industry and small and medium
enterprises (SMEs) and see what
projects are available for cooperation.
We have spoken to banks for funding
and are in the process of bringing
Belgian companies to India and taking
back Indian companies to Belgium.
In the process we have also generated
some funding back in Belgium. We
have 160 Belgian companies working
in India and 60 Indian companies
in Belgium. We are also opening a
new consulate in Kolkata for better
relations and cooperation.
Are there any particular initiatives by
Belgium for tying up with India on the renewable
Several developments have led to a successful collaboration between Belgium and India in the field of renewable energy. India is witnessing
rapidly increasing energy demand and is concerned about its economic and environmental consequences. Ensuring access to energy, enhanced energy security and mitigation of climate change are top priorities for the Indian government. As a critical element in pursuit of these key policy objectives,renewable energy is becoming an increasingly important part of India’s energy mix.
How many Belgian companies in the renewable
sector are operating in India? Do they have any
The European Union (EU) is setting the most ambitious targets globally on reducing carbon dioxide emissions with a commitment to meet 20 per
cent of energy needs with renewable energy by 2020. The EU is also a leader on technology since it provides 45 per cent of renewable energy patents worldwide. If we look at the European
export figures in detail, five countries account for 75 per cent of eco-industry exports: Germany, the UK, France,Belgium and Italy.
In terms of investment, how much are Belgian companies thinking of investing?
Belgium has top research institutes and universities with research projects in virtually all renewable energy sectors. Many Belgian companies have the expertise and also a great deal
to contribute in terms of worldwide technology transfer and exchange of best practices, both in wind energy, solar energy and clean technologies for construction and transport.
What kind of collaborations are there between the two countries on the renewable front?
This has been a fruitful endeavour. Successful collaborations between several Belgian and Indian research institutes and Belgian and Indian companies have been set up. Research institutes like Vito and Imec cooperate
with Indian partners like Teri and Wipro on water and energy, smart grid technology and solar energy. Several other Belgian companies, like Hansen Transmissions (wind energy), Talboom (geothermal energy), Vincke Energietechniek (biomass), SES Vanderhave (bio-diesel) and Tractebel Engineering thermal power sector,
concentrated solar power and hydro power plants have set up joint ventures or other forms of collaborations with Indian partners. Others companies are participating in this mission looking cooperation opportunities.