SHOWCASED NEW TECHNOLOGY: Senior Researcher Sanket Puranik and Head of Research & Innovation Dieter Hirdes represented Smart Innovation Norway during the Norwegian state visit to India this week.

Earlier this week, Smart Innovation Norway was part of the India-Norway Business Summit following Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s official state visit to India.

By Mari Kristine Buckholm, January 11, 2019

“Norway has technology and expertise that can help India reach its goals”

Norwegian-Indian technology and research collaboration:

“This was the first Norwegian state visit to India since 2001 and the next largest business delegation ever,” says Dieter Hirdes, Head of Research & Innovation at Smart Innovation Norway, who represented the company alongside Senior Researcher Sanket Puranik.

On Monday, the business summit was opened by Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg with 700 participants present. During the conference, 15 collaboration agreements were signed with Indian companies, six of them within the field of energy.

“The focus areas of the state visit were collaboration within oceans, energy and health. Smart Innovation Norway signed an agreement with two major Indian energy companies, TATA Power in Mumbai and BSES Yamana Power in Delhi, both connected to the EU Horizon 2020 project E-LAND,” explains Hirdes.

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Major interest in technology

The conference was divided into six parallel sessions, with energy as the main theme. Smart Innovation Norway organized the Smart Grid session alongside Innovation Norway and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

This session was the most visited one, with 170 participants. Smart Innovation Norway presented examples of technological solutions developed by their NCE Smart Energy Markets cluster members, as well as research results from the EU projects INVADE and E-LAND.

“We have had three hectic days meeting energy companies and governments that showed great interest in the Norwegian technology presented to them. We have agreed to follow-up meetings to define pilot projects and visits to Norway to demonstrate research results and technological solutions,” remarks Hirdes.

On Wednesday, the Norwegian Research Council held a seminar where Norwegian participants and representatives from leading Indian universities and research institutes discussed collaboration on a coming Horizon 2020 call within smart energy.

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Tiny Mesh grows in India

Among the Norwegian SMEs that were represented under the state visit to New Delhi, was software company and NCE cluster member Tiny Mesh.

“Our main activity in the Indian market is delivering wireless communication for smart power meters and street lights. To do this, we need to be present locally. We started working in India in 2011 and have learned a lot about how the Indian market works,” explains Tiny Mesh entrepreneur, Thorstein Tønnesen.

Today, the company has its own India office which runs sales, support and production. They produce locally to be in compliance with what is called the “make in India” strategy, an Indian policy that makes sure Indian industry and workplaces are developed.

Enlightening visit for Heimdall

Brage Johansen, CEO of Heimdall Power, also participated as part of the Norwegian business delegation.

“This visit has been very giving. It has been interesting and enlightening to meet the Indian companies and the people who work with smart grid and energy in India. I have learned a lot and made good contacts,” says Johansen.

Heimdall Power digitalizes and upgrades the power grid with something called neurons, a form of circular transmitters that are directly connected to the power lines. The transmitters provide the grid owners with precise and accurate information.

“We have received great response to what we deliver. Like in Norway and the rest of Europe, it has all been positive. We have also signed an agreement with the big Indian energy company, TATA Power, and it really impressed me that they understood how our technology works immediately,” notes Johansen.

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Clarification of market drivers

Another Norwegian company which benefitted greatly from the state visit, was Pixii. Their Chief Innovation Officer, Ole Jakob Sørdalen, stated the following comment:

“Being part of the business delegation gave us the opportunity to promote Pixii to relevant partners and customers in India, which led to a collaboration agreement with TATA Power. We hope this visit clarifies the market drivers for energy storage in India and that we will have the first pilot installations in place within a year.”

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Solberg: ”We will meet the climate changes together”

One of the main events of the state visit, was the official re-opening of a brand new and state-of-the-art Norwegian embassy in Delhi.

“Norway and India have been collaboration partners for nearly 70 years, and through the years the nature of our partnership has changed. Today, we face global development challenges, like climate changes, and we will meet them together.”

This is how Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg introduced her speech at the embassy opening. She said that Norway has expertise and technology that can be used to foster a green transition but emphasized the fact there are only 5 million Norwegians. She continued to point out that India, on the other hand, is home to 1,3 billion people.

“India could provide the scale needed to achieve the global transition and offers huge opportunities. The opening of this embassy marks the beginning of a new era of co-operation between our two nations,” Solberg said.