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India’s ambitious global grid declaration likely to be adopted at COP26

The global grid plan, $1 trillion solar investment roadmap for 2030, and a blended financial risk mitigation facility are also expected to be discussed during the fourth general assembly being held virtually between 18 October-21 October. (Photo: Bloomberg)Premium
The global grid plan, $1 trillion solar investment roadmap for 2030, and a blended financial risk mitigation facility are also expected to be discussed during the fourth general assembly being held virtually between 18 October-21 October. (Photo: Bloomberg)

  • ISA plans to issue a declaration on India’s global electricity grid plan— One Sun One World One Grid (OSOWOG)

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NEW DELHI : India’s ambitious global grid declaration is expected be adopted at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, International Solar Alliance (ISA) Director General Ajay Mathur said on Monday. 

ISA plans to issue a declaration on India’s global electricity grid plan— One Sun One World One Grid (OSOWOG). ISA is the nodal agency for implementing OSOWOG, that seeks to transfer solar power generated in one region to feed the electricity demands of others. 

“The Government of India asked ISA and its members to carry out a study to look at the viability of this initiative. We hope that in a couple of days, we would be able to share a declaration that will be adopted at COP26," Ajay Mathur, Director General, ISA said at a pre-general assembly technical briefing on OSOWOG on Monday.  

A consortium led by French state-run power utility firm EDF and comprising France’s AETS, and India’s The Energy and Resources Institute (Teri) has been tasked with creating the road map for the global grid OSOWOG. 

The global grid plan, $1 trillion solar investment roadmap for 2030, and a blended financial risk mitigation facility are also expected to be discussed during the fourth general assembly being held virtually between 18 October-21 October. U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate (SPEC) John Kerry will address the fourth general assembly of ISA on 20 October.

“OSOWOG offers an opportunity to use solar energy 24 hours a day even when the sun is not shining over us, because it is shining somewhere else on the globe," Mathur added.  

Mint had reported on 21 February about ISA’ plans to launch a Green Grid Initiative (GGI) at COP-26 at Glasgow. ISA co-founded by India during the 2015 climate change conference in Paris has assumed centre-stage for India’ attempts at a global climate leadership role. 

 “GGI-OSOWOG will bring more technical, financial and research cooperation to help facilitate cross-border renewable energy transfer projects and greening of grids at regional and national levels," Mathur added.  

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. 

“A detailed report on OSOWOG is expected to be discussed at the Assembly. The concept of a single global grid for solar was first outlined at the First Assembly of the ISA in late 2018. It envisions building and scaling inter-regional energy grids to share solar energy across the globe, leveraging the differences of time zones, seasons, resources, and prices between countries and regions," India’s ministry of new and renewable energy said in a statement on Monday. 

The initial plans also involve setting up an under-sea link to connect with Oman in the West. 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. 

Speaking at the technical briefing, Amit Jain, senior energy specialist at World Bank said that the multilateral financial institution would be interested in the South Asia Power Pool and India--GCC electricity interconnection. 

“Regional power pools are the backbone of OSOWOG,’ Jain said and added, “The South Asia power pool will be one of the first pilot projects under the OSOWOG initiative." 

India has urged the US to join the ISA, co-founded by India and France. ISA has become a significant public policy tool for India and is considered a counter to China’s ambitious One Belt One Road initiative. India’s strategy is to negate the growing influence of strategic rival China in the region. 

“The draft Cross border trade of electricity (CBTE) should be finalized soon as it can become the blueprint for South Asia power pool," Jain said and added, “It will be important to have collaboration and necessary alignment of regulatory practices such as transmission access, congestion management, system operation, and energy accounting." 

This comes at a time when there hasn’t been much traction on the Green Climate Fund set up to provide developing nations $100 billion annually by 2020 to counter climate change. Green finance is among the priority themes at COP-26, with the conference being held in the backdrop of US re-entering the Paris climate accord. 

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