NEW DELHI :
French government-owned power utility Électricité de France SA (EDF) and consulting firms McKinsey & Co., Boston Consulting Group (BCG), Kearney, Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) are among entities that have shown interest in creating the roadmap for a global solar grid planned by India, two people aware of the development said.
These companies plan to participate in a request for proposal (RFP) called by India’s ministry of new and renewable energy (MNRE) for consultants, the two people said on condition of anonymity. The chosen consultant will help develop a long-term roadmap, including a technical and financial proposal, for the ‘One Sun One World One Grid’ (OSOWOG) to transfer solar power across borders. The World Bank is providing technical assistance for the ambitious task.
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. Prefeasibility analysis of the OSOWOG concept will then commence."
India’s global grid plans have gained traction against the backdrop of China’s attempt to co-opt countries into its ‘One Belt One Road’ initiative that seeks to invest billions of dollars in infrastructure projects across Asia, Africa and Europe.
“The consultants will be qualified shortly and the contract may be awarded by July-end," one of the two people cited above said.
While dedicating the 750 megawatts (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 to unite the entire world in terms of solar energy and the spirit behind that was OSOWOG.
Queries emailed to an MNRE spokesperson on 9 July remained unanswered.
Spokespersons for McKinsey, BCG and PwC declined to comment. Queries emailed to spokespersons for Kearney and Deloitte remained unanswered.
The global grid plan is 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 power. The second phase deals with the MESASEA grid getting interconnected with the African power pools; and the third and final phase is on global interconnection. The selected consultant will have to help develop OSOWOG’s long-term vision, implementation plan, roadmap 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 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.