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NEW DELHI : The proposed South Asia power pool comprising Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) will form the primary component of the South Asia-South-East Asia interconnection corridor that has been shortlisted for an ambitious global grid plan, said several people aware of the development. 

The global grid declaration is to be adopted at COP 26 in Glasgow, with the Green Grids Initiative (GGI)—One Sun One World One Grid (OSOWOG), to be launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the World Leaders Summit that will be chaired by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The GGI–OSOWOG steering group will be co-chaired by India and the UK and the group’s initial members may include the African Union, Australia, France, Germany, Oman, and the US. Brazil, Egypt, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam are expected to join the steering group. 

The International Solar Alliance (ISA) is the nodal agency for implementing OSOWOG, which seeks to transfer solar power generated in one region to feed the electricity demands of others. India’s ministry of new and renewable energy, World Bank, and the ISA have inked a tripartite agreement on OSOWOG to form an institutional structure. 

“The formal announcement of GGI-OSOWOG is set to take place at COP26 in Glasgow. Further details will be available post the launch," an ISA spokesperson said in an emailed response on 20 October. “The UK and the Indian government’s Global Green Grids—One Sun One World One Grid Initiative is expected to be launched at COP26 by the delegations of the UK and India. This initiative will bring together an international coalition of national governments, financial organizations, and power system operators to accelerate the construction of new infrastructure needed to deliver a massive scale-up of secure, reliable and affordable power. It would be inappropriate for us to speculate on any further details at this stage," a British High Commission spokesperson said in an emailed response on 20 October. 

A consortium led by French state-run power utility EDF and comprising France’s AETS and India’s The Energy and Resources Institute (Teri) has helped create the road map for OSOWOG. “You can think of the global grid as an interconnector of interconnectors," ISA assistant director general Jagjeet Sareen told Mint

Three pilot interconnection corridors have been shortlisted for detailed technical and financial viability. They are South Asia (India)-South-East Asia (Myanmar to Thailand), South Asia (India)-West Asia and West Asia-Africa. 

“If you now connect link these power pools from different regions through, for example, sub-marine cables or land lines you are creating a wider greater system and in the process building the components of a global grid," Junaid Ahmad, World Bank country director in India said in an interview to Mint

With regional power pools providing the building blocks for OSOWOG, the World Bank is also facilitating the South Asia power pool and India—GCC electricity interconnection. “And In this context, South Asia offers an extraordinary opportunity. In the east side of South Asia, the BBIN countries—Bangladesh-Bhutan-India and Nepal—have already begun a system of trading electricity bilaterally or trilaterally with India as a connector. This platform can be converted into a well-functioning power pool and a connected market where countries can buy and sell electricity. By tapping into the hydropower of Bhutan and Nepal and the growing hydro and solar power of India and Bangladesh. A green power pool," Ahmad said. 

Fostering cross-border energy trade is an important part of Modi’s South Asia-focused neighbourhood-first policy. India is trying to create a common pool for neighbouring countries and has already notified cross-border trading regulations. The proposed market will include Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh. 

“This would positively impact the economic development of over 300 million people of this sub-Region. Over time this power pool can be linked into Myanmar and Sri Lanka as part of the growing global grid," Ahmad said. 

Also, there are two options being explored to connect with Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. One is an under-sea link to connect Gujarat with Oman and the other involves a land route via Pakistan and Afghanistan to West Asia. 

“Technical options are being analysed and cost benefits of different routes are being assessed. The answer to whether its one or the other or both will really be an outcome of the analysis itself," Ahmad said. “We are examining techno-commercial viability of both routes and it would be open to market forces," Sareen said. 

India has been procuring hydropower from Bhutan but is also supplying electricity to Bangladesh and Nepal. The plan now is to include the option of building an overhead electricity link with Sri Lanka. 

“All countries will have the flexibility of joining or opting out of power pools or a globally connected grid In a connected grid where the electrons come from and where they go determined by supply and demand – a market – making political boundaries almost irrelevant," Ahmad said.

 

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