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USTDA Accelerates Clean Energy for Telecom Towers in India

Monday, December 2, 2013

(USTDA)  Solar Hybrid Methanol Fuel Cells Project Builds on U.S.-India Energy Cooperation

MUMBAI, INDIA This week, USTDA awarded a grant to Idea Cellular Limited, a leading mobile service provider in India, to support the development of clean energy technologies for India's telecom sector. The grant will fund a feasibility study and pilot project that will assess the technical, economic and financial feasibility of deploying solar hybrid methanol based fuel cell (SHMBFC) systems that provide continuous and uninterruptible power to telecom towers. The project, which will be carried out by ICF International (Fairfax, VA), aims to assist Idea Cellular's effort to replace stationary diesel engines by demonstrating SHMBFC technology at five telecom tower sites using 2.5 and 5.0 kilowatt fuel cell units.

"India has a growing need for new sources of cleaner energy. Ultimately, this pilot project intends to demonstrate the viability of replacing diesel generators with fuel cell power systems not only at telecom towers, but also at other sites throughout the country that require reliable back-up power solutions such as hospitals, data centers and commercial areas, " said USTDA Director Leocadia I. Zak. "This grant demonstrates the active collaboration between the U.S. government and the U.S. and Indian private sectors to advance clean energy in India."

During the signing ceremony, Ambassador Nancy Powell noted, "As the energy needs of our countries continue to grow, it is important that we are investing in efficient energy infrastructure and India's domestic resources in ways that minimize environmental impacts while keeping up with India's expanding economy. I congratulate USTDA, ICF International and Idea Cellular on this smart energy initiative."

Following the grant signing, Mr. Himanshu Kapania, Managing Director, Idea Cellular said, "Idea Cellular, an Aditya Birla Group Company, has been a pioneer in renewable energy technologies deployment to power telecom sites in India, for the past several years. The grant offered by USTDA will further spur our efforts towards reducing carbon emissions from telecom infrastructure in the country."

This effort advances the work of the U.S.-India Energy Cooperation Program (ECP), a public-private partnership between U.S. member companies and the governments of the United States and India. This project also supports U.S. government priorities in India by promoting domestic energy production, rural electrification and the usage of cleaner alternatives to fossil fuels in an effort to reduce the country's dependence on oil and gas imports. These objectives will feature prominently during the upcoming U.S-India Energy Dialogue in New Delhi in January 2014.