During a recent visit to Finland, Indian Minister for New and Renewable Energy, Mr Farooq Abdullah, met Finnish Minister of the Environment, Mrs Paula Lehtomäki, together with Cleantech Finland officials and member companies, including Beneq.
Minister Farooq Abdullah opened the meeting by emphasizing his interest in solutions that Cleantech Finland member companies have for the most important energy questions facing India. India's consumption of energy is today the fifth largest in the world, exceeding own production by 12.7%. Rapid domestic economic and population growth will keep the need for energy growing in the future, and so the challenge is how to increase both energy production and energy efficiency. Another major challenge is the restricted availability of electrical power; more than 400 million Indians have no access to electricity. The situation is most serious in scarcely populated areas. In addition, there are frequent interruptions in local electricity distribution, due to poor condition of the power grid.
Answering the call, Cleantech Finland member companies offered concrete solutions for India's energy challenges. Mr Sampo Ahonen, CEO of Beneq, advocated solar energy as an energy source in areas where electricity is not available at all. In these areas, access to electricity during the daytime would already be a major improvement, and the solar radiation values in India are among the highest in the world. Beneq delivers coating equipment for improving the efficiency of photovoltaic cells.
According to Mr Matti Rae, Director of New Technologies at Ensto, the solution to electricity distribution reliability and electric network functionality is Ensto's smart grid expertise.
Mrs Maria Paatero-Kaarnakari from Fortum presented a combined energy and heat production solution and a charging point network for electric cars, which Fortum has implemented in co-operation with the City of Espoo and Ensto.
Vacon CEO Mr Vesa Laisi presented the company's innovations for energy efficiency - a frequency transformer that controls electric motor operation and reduces energy consumption by an average of 10%.
Summing up the gist of the meeting was Mr Santtu Hulkkonen, Cleantech Finland Program Director: "India, its rapidly growing industry and need for energy, and its interest in renewable energy, represents huge market potential for Finnish cleantech companies, and there is a lot of need for Finnish cleantech expertise. Cleantech Finland (which arranged the meeting with Minister Abdullah) assists Finnish environmentally aware technology companies to market and communicate their competence in India".