One sun, one world, one grid: empowering sustainability

by | Feb 5, 2024 | Monde

In October 2018, Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed the idea of One Sun, One World, One Grid (OSOWOG) for the first time at the First Assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA). During COP26 in November 2021, the Green Grids Initiative (GGI) was launched by the United Kingdom (UK) as a key enabler of net zero in India’s and the UK’s shared vision of 2030. The two countries aim to establish a collaborative framework for global cooperation in maximising the utilisation of renewable resources, ensuring that clean and efficient energy becomes a dependable alternative for meeting the energy needs of all nations by 2030.

 

GGI and the OSOWOG initiative were unveiled jointly by India and the UK as part of their bilateral collaboration in conjunction with the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and the World Bank Group (WB). These initiatives, focusing on the global transition to renewable energy, were subsequently merged into a unified effort named GGI-OSOWOG, emphasising a collective commitment to a common goal. This first-ever international network of interconnected solar grids seeks to connect 140 countries to continuous solar power and has been endorsed by 80 ISA Member Countries.

 

The vision behind the OSOWOG initiative is the mantra that “the sun never sets”. The idea is to harness solar energy from different parts of the world, where the sun is shining at any given moment, and efficiently transmit that power to areas where it is needed. By creating a connected global grid, regions that experience daylight can contribute excess solar power to other regions that may be in darkness, balancing energy production and consumption on a global scale.

 

Making an Impact through Global Interconnections

 

The OSOWOG initiative is to be carried out in 3 phases:

 

In the first phase, the Indian grid would be connected to the grids of the Middle East, South Asia and South-East Asia to develop a common grid. This grid would then be used to share solar energy as needed, in addition to other renewable energy sources.

 

The second phase would connect the functional first phase to the pool of renewable resources in Africa.

 

The third phase would look at achieving true global interconnection with the aim of 2,600 GW of interconnection by 2050. The goal is to integrate as many countries as possible to create a single power grid of renewable energy.

 

India’s role at OSOWOG

 

India’s goal to achieve 500 GW non-fossil-based electricity generation capacities by 2030 aligns with its efforts to be Net Zero by 2070. The nation has been transformed from power-deficient to power-sufficient. In 2023-24, out of total generation capacity of 9,943 MW added, 8,269 are from non-fossil fuel sources.

 

As per Renewable Energy Statistics 2023 released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), India has the 4th largest installed capacity of renewable energy.

 

It is imperative for India to not only find alternatives to coal-based fuels but also secure its energy demands in sustainable manner. GGI-OSOWOG is the ambitious plan to attain this goal. India urgently needs to shift to solar power due to three impending issues. Firstly, India is likely to account for 25% of global energy demand growth over the next two decade, necessitating a move towards solar for enhanced energy security and self-sufficiency while mitigating environmental impacts. Failure to do so may increase dependence on coal and oil, leading to economic and environmental costs. Secondly, rampant air pollution emphasizes the need for cleaner energy sources like solar to combat pollution caused by fossil fuels. Lastly, declining groundwater levels and decreasing annual rainfall underscore the importance of diversifying energy sources. Solar power, unlike coal, doesn’t strain groundwater supplies. The extensive use of solar power plants is a crucial step towards cleaner, cheaper, and sustainable energy, offering benefits at both utility and individual levels.

 

Challenges and Way Forward

 

Building consensus among 140 nations and addressing geopolitical challenges, logistical issues related to land availability, potential problems arising from weather changes, wire breakage, securing finances, etc., makes the realisation of this ambitious project all the more difficult.

 

Achieving energy access within the available short timeframe requires targeted interventions addressing key factors. These factors include:

 

  • Establish supportive policy frameworks for organised progress

 

  • Secure affordable long-term finance and use innovative financial instruments, crucial for projects in heavily affected regions and attracting private sector investments

 

  • Implement capacity building and training in access-deficit countries, focusing on affected areas

 

  • Create an enabling environment through updated data access and quality standards for mini-grids and distributed renewable energy

 

The move towards One Sun, One World, and One Grid signifies a pivotal future for renewable energy systems. This project plays a crucial role in fostering international collaboration, enabling the balanced and shared use of renewable energy sources globally. Successfully completing this project not only reinforces India’s leadership in the International Solar Alliance (ISA) but also provides substantial support to the Indian economy. The broader impact includes promoting global sustainability and enhancing societal resilience against climate change.

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