New Delhi: Around 30 firms, including French government-owned power utility Electricite de France SA (EDF) and consulting firms such as McKinsey and Co., Boston Consulting Group (BCG), AT Kearney, Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), have separately evinced interest in helping India firm up its ambitious global electricity grid plan, said two people aware of the development.
India’ global grid plans have gained traction in the backdrop of China’s attempt to co-opt countries into its ambitious One Belt One Road initiative that seeks to invest billions of dollars in infrastructure projects including railways, ports and power grids across Asia, Africa and Europe.
The who’s who of consulting and electricity sector are interested in participating in a request for proposal (RFP) called by India’s ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) to develop a long-term roadmap for the ‘One Sun One World One Grid’ (OSOWOG), that comprises a technical and financial proposal. The ambitious task has been taken up under the technical assistance program of the World Bank.
A World Bank spokesperson in an emailed response said, “We don’t have access to this information at this stage. The tender is under procurement and a winning bidder will be announced once the tender process is concluded. Pre-feasibility analysis of the OSOWOG concept will then commence."
Mint reported on 28 May about the RFP for helping with the cross-border power grid plan that seek to transfer solar power generated in one region to feed the electricity demands of others.
While dedicating the 750 megawatt (MW) solar project at Rewa in Madhya Pradesh to the nation on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the International Solar Alliance (ISA) was launched with the motive to unite the entire world in terms of solar energy and the spirit behind was ‘One Sun One World One Grid.’
“The consultants will be qualified shortly and the contract may be awarded by end July," said a person cited above requesting anonymity.
The global grid may also leverage the ISA, co-founded by India and France, that has 83 signatory countries and the proposed World Solar Bank (WSB). The WSB plan proposed by ISA being explored at the top levels of the Indian government involves the Bank being headquartered here, and comes in the backdrop of Beijing taking the lead in creating Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the New Development Bank (NDB).
Queries emailed to a MNRE spokesperson on 9 July remained unanswered.
Spokespersons for McKinsey, BCG and PwC declined comment. Queries emailed to spokespersons for AT Kearney and Deloitte remained unanswered.
The global grid plan has been spread across three phases. The first phase deals with the Middle East—South Asia—-South East Asia (MESASEA) interconnection for sharing green energy sources such as solar for meeting electricity needs including peak demand. While the second phase deals with the MESASEA grid getting interconnected with the African power pools; the third and final phase is about global interconnection.
The selected consultant will have to help develop OSOWOG’ long-term vision, implementation plan, road map and institutional framework.
“With India at the fulcrum, the solar spectrum can easily be divided into two broad zones, viz. Far East which would include countries like Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, etc., and Far West which would cover the Middle East and the Africa Region," the RFP said.
Fostering cross-border energy trade is an important part of Modi’s South Asia-focused neighbourhood-first policy. India has been supplying power to Bangladesh and Nepal and has been championing a South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) electricity grid minus Pakistan to meet electricity demand in the region.
“An interconnected grid would help all the participating entities in attracting investments in renewable energy sources as well as utilizing skills, technology and finances. Resulting economic benefits would positively impact poverty alleviation and support in mitigating water, sanitation, food and other socioeconomic challenges," the RFP said.