The Finance Bill 2010-11 has created a corpus called National Clean Energy Fund, which will invest in entrepreneurial ventures and research in the field of clean energy technologies. The money for this will be garnered through a so-called ‘clean energy cess’ — Rs 50 on every tonne of coal, both domestic and imported. The government didn’t say how much the new cess would bring in, but a back-of-the-envelope calculation by ET indicates that a sum of Rs 2,500 crore may not be unrealistic. How to leverage the fund? take a clue from China- support Indian private business to invest in start-ups in USA and Europe.
China has set aside a whopping $200.8 billion in stimulus funding for cleantech, 79 percent more than the $112.2 billion the U.S.These numbers mean that governments, in essence, have become the biggest cleantech venture capitalists – with China as the largest player by far. Here is an example: vanadium redox flow batteries were being developed in Vancouver, Canada by a company called VRB Power Systems and chinese firm Prudent Energy bought out the struggling company’s assets in Jan. 2009. Later the Chinese firm has raised a $22 million Series C round to build its Beijing manufacturing capacity for vanadium redox flow batteries.
The traditional way of funding Indian public sector units like CEL / BHEL or CSIR labs (CECRI) & IITs to develop clean technologies would take us no where. The starting point is not research but access to patented technology. Will government dare to lend stimuls money to firms to buy out start-up firms from abroad???