City-based Sujana group, which is into steel, power and energy businesses, has entered into a partnership with Columbia Law School in New York to fund the creation of new legal tools and model contracts that would facilitate American investments in India’s clean-energy projects.
The project is funded by a $485,000 (around Rs 2.2 crore) grant from Sujana, and is the first-of-its-kind by an Indian company, according to Hari Kiran Chereddi, managing director, Sujana Energy. It involves US and Indian lawyers working in consultation with experts in investment, project finance, and clean energy to create contracts and other legal instruments as standards for the industry.
“Our entire energy R&D is in the US. We know the problem, which is lack of deal support from lawyers (for India-US deals in clean energy),” Chereddi told Business Standard.
The project would make the contracts and other documents available for free online so they can be readily adopted for projects throughout India, the two partners said in a joint press statement today.
It said India is a potentially lucrative market for foreign investment, but high costs and bureaucratic and legal roadblocks had stymied most efforts. The project, to be run by the Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School, would seek to change that.
Besides drafting contracts, the 18-month project would also organise two international symposiums, the first in July this year and then in March 2012, to bring together major players in the sector.
Michael Gerrard, director of the Center for Climate Change Law, said, “There is enormous potential for US companies to not only help India reduce greenhouse gases, but to take an active role in investments that can provide an excellent rate of return.”
The project aims to facilitate access for US equipment manufacturers to the domestic market as India embarks on hiking its power capacity by 80 per cent to meet its energy needs of 20 years later.
Project director Aarthi S Anand said, “Right now, there is a strong desire to pursue many clean-energy projects in India, but too often companies haven’t moved forward because of transaction costs that are both perceived and real. This is a way to streamline the process.”