"India offers, in the emerging world, the largest market for renewables that follows market principles."
Arunabha Gosh, CEO, Council for Energy, Environment & Water
London: Backdrop for India Investment Forum
Developing green investment pipelines, building investor confidence and growing London’s role as a centre of green capital were amongst the core issues discussed at the recent India-UK Green Finance Dialogue 2018. Issuers and investors convened to discuss the next phase of market development to meet India’s vast infrastructure, energy and national development goals.
Attendees included India’s largest bank, the SBI, National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD); India’s leading DFI & agricultural policy bank and the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) who were joined by London based investor groups and asset managers.
The event also saw the launch of the India Country Briefing summarising the state of the green bond market as at July 2018 (the report can be found here).
India: Climate, Development and the Investment Challenge
In his opening comments to the forum Arunabha Ghosh of the influential Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) put the basic challenge:
“Money is not flowing where the sun shines the most and the wind blows the hardest.”
Outlining the scale of opportunity, he emphasized, “India offers, in the emerging world, the largest market for renewables that follows market principles.”
Ghosh also highlighted Grid Integration Guarantee (GIG) as one of the policy measures to help meet India’s ambitious 175GW by 2022 clean energy target and amplifying the Indian investment opportunity for the UK.
Rob Ward, Deputy Director, Global Financial Markets, HM Treasury and Param Shah, Director at Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI-UK) provided the regulatory perspective on mobilising green finance.
Suchit Punnose, from Red Ribbon Asset Management; which has been investing in India for more than a decade, noted that by that by 2030, India could be the third largest economy in the world and with an increasingly influential voice in global and international policy.
He was assertive about the need to change the narrative around perceived investment risk. He advocated increased engagement between investors seeking emerging market opportunities and issuers seeking long term capital.
Shrishanker also stressed the opportunity in multisector bonds for the private sector. He pointed to the need to take SMEs into account, especially in the tech industry, stating that there are a large number of SMEs that can become part of the green bond market, with an emphasis on green certification.
A prominent participant, Harald Hirschhofer, Senior Advisor from TCX, addressed the importance of macroeconomic stability and having a forward-looking monetary policy. Focusing on the positive role of standardised contracts, Harald cited that standardized PPAs (Power Purchase Agreements) for solar PV or wind can help reduce legal costs, accelerate project preparation and de-risk projects substantially, leading to future aggregation as they are based on the same or similar contracts.
A Bigger Role for the City
The day’s second half was chaired by Alderman Alison Gowman from the City of London, with contributions from Sir Roger Gifford, Chair Green Finance Initiative (GFI) and Param Shah, Director of FICCI, UK. The Indian delegation, led by FICCI, included senior representatives from the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy, Climate Policy Initiative, CEEW, International Finance Corporation, NABARD, IREDA and SBI.
UK participants included UK Climate Investments LLP, HSBC, World Wide Generation, Agvesto Limited, HM Treasury, London Stock Exchange, Dept. for Business Energy & Industry Strategy (BEIS) and other institutional investros and hosts Willis Towers Watson.
Alderman Gowman highlighted during her keynote address that capital markets should be looking at a wider range of investment instruments to meet India’s needs.
Barriers around, tax, regulation, definitions and role of central and state governments were explored alongside working with the smart cities program as a potential way forward. Applying green finance principles to the growing Fintech sector was also identified as a specific growth opportunity.
Speakers highlighted the importance of diversifying investment into sectors such as agriculture, transport, green buildings, and circular economy in addition to renewable energy.
A wide ranging discussion took place on expanding sources of capital including blended capital and bank finance in addition to supply from traditional capital markets. The day’s proceedings were brought to a close by the Rt. Hon. Mark Field, Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific at the U.K. Foreign Office and Sir Roger Gifford, Chair to Green Finance Initiative (GFI).
The Minister stressed climate change urgency and that technology and green finance have a key role in mitigation, and Sir Roger Gifford commended CBI’s continued efforts to build green investment between the two nations.
The Last Word
The Indian market is an untapped opportunity for green finance. Issuers especially SBI, NABARD and IREDA are open and eager to participate in green issuances.
We think the best characterisation comes directly from two of the key organisers of the forum:
Param Shah, Director, FICCI-UK
“Growth, green growth and India’s huge national development agenda was the backdrop for these discussions with investors. Long term investment partnerships that help build India’s low carbon development path are in the interests of both nations. Continuing dialogue with London based investors will help unlock the capital India needs to achieve these objectives.”
"We welcome the ongoing efforts by Climate Bonds Initiative, the City of London and the UK Government to build awareness and engagement around the many market based green finance opportunities that exist in India."
Karthik Iyer, Commercial Director, Climate Bonds Initiative:
“This event reflected many aspects of where the UK-India financial relationship needs to go. The tremendous climate and green development potential that exists in India, the value of partnerships in building long term investor confidence and the vital role of London to bridge the gaps and bring institutional capital and green infrastructure financing together were all prominent issues in the Dialogue."
“Between now and end 2020 is the time to address these challenges, build a stronger platform for the next decade, with London playing a key role as a financial aggregator and facilitator of large scale capital investment in a green and growing India."
'Til next time,
The India-UK Green Finance Dialogue 2018 was sponsored by Climate Bonds and Federation of Indian Commerce and Industry (FICCI), City of London and kindly hosted by Willis Towers Watson.