Rajya Sabha TV The Big Picture One World One Sun One Grid

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Rajya Sabha TV The Big Picture One World One Sun One Grid


(Topics covered: General Studies III- Technology and Environment)

PM Narendra Modi stressed that India would generate 40% of power from non-fossil fuels by 2030 and has called for connecting solar energy supply across borders giving the mantra of ‘One World One Sun One Grid’.  The 121-country International Solar Alliance can be seen as the future of OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) for meeting energy needs of the world. Solar power can thus, play the same role that oil wells have played over the past few decades.

 

INTERNATIONAL SOLAR ALLIANCE:

World map with areas between Tropic of Cancer and Tropic of Capricorn highlighted in red

  • It is an alliance (Treaty-based inter-governmental organization) of 121 countries initiated by India, mostly lying partly or completely between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
  • It was founded at a meeting of member countries ahead of the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in November 2015.
  • Its objective is to work for exploitation of solar energy needs to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.

 

OPEC:

  • The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries is an intergovernmental organization of 15 countries, founded in 1960 in Baghdad.
  • These countries account for an estimated 5% of world’s proven oil reserves.
  • 2/3rd of OPEC’s oil production and reserves are in its six Middle-Eastern countries surrounding the oil-rich Persian Gulf.
  • Its formation and decisions have played an important role in global oil production and international relations.

 

ANALYSIS:

  • The challenges of global warming and climate change is becoming serious and efforts need to be done by moving more towards cleaner fuels to resolve it.
  • Limiting the rise in global average temperature by 2OC as per the Paris Agreement and even further to 1.5OC require that the world should move towards fossil-fuel free economy by about 2040. This is a huge challenge and requires to act rigorously to achieve it.
  • India, Europe, United States etc are more or less covered with an integrated grid for power supply.
  • Integration of nations over the world with a common grid can be very helpful. This can help in generating, for example, solar energy in regions where it is largely available (like deserts of the world) to places where it is less available. For example, solar energy generated in Sahara Desert can be taken to Europe and reduce Europe’s dependence on gas.
  • Pitching International Solar Alliance to becoming a global body like United Nations is going to be a very important foreign policy tool for India (as its Headquarter is in Gurugram, India) apart from being helpful from environment, economy and energy points of views.
  • India has an installed capacity of 345GW in electricity sector with one National Grid. Solar energy is a fast developing industry in India and its capacity has reached 23 GW till June 2018. India has an ambitious target of achieving 100GW of solar capacity by
  • India has developed solar energy in large solar parks. But, the solar energy needs to be made available in lakhs of villages as well. This will be helpful for farmers to a large extent in increasing his productivity.
  • Government of India has worked on programmes like increasing use of LED bulbs in rural and urban areas both. Such initiatives need to be taken further to save both energy and climate.
  • A major challenge towards achieving solar energy all over India is storage technology (like using batteries). This will help in getting solar power in different areas and in non-peak times of solar energy. India needs to develop and get such technologies at present.

CONCLUSION:

ISA shall not become a carter (like OPEC is) rather it should act as a global body that helps in reducing the effects of climate change and achieving future energy needs over the world. A cartel’s goal is to increase its collective profits by means of price fixing, limiting supply, or other restrictive practices. So, the goal of ISA, with India taking a lead, shall be rather to make possible for world to use more of solar power as a cleaner and sustainable fuel.