- 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 proposed integration would lead to reduced project costs, higher efficiencies and increased asset utilization for all the participating entities.
- It will 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 socio-economic challenges.
- It will allow national renewable energy management centers in India to grow as regional and global management centers.
- At a global level, almost 2,600 GW of interconnection capacity may be possible up to 2050, delivering estimated power savings of 226 billion euros per year.
- The initiative brings together the International Solar Alliance and the UK’s green grid initiative and complements India’s focus on harnessing the sun’s energy.
- The grid will be set up over the next few years by the International Solar Alliance (ISA), another initiative authored by India initially, to transport solar power to different countries.
- The vision behind the OSOWOG is ‘The Sun Never Sets’ and is a constant at some geographical location, globally, at any given point of time.
Importance and Need for a OSOWOG plan for Globe:
- 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.
- 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.
- India is already planning to connect more neighbouring countries through a regional power grid which can be used to supply electricity to surrounding nations without adequate number of power plants.
- Apart from Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar and Bangladesh, which already take power from India, there are plans to connect Sri Lanka with power transmission lines as well.
- Draft procedural guidelines have been framed for firms to participate in cross-border electricity trade.
OSOWOG and the world:
- WSB aims to compete with other newly created funding institutions like the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the New Development Bank (NDB).
- OSOWOG will help to mitigate the ill effects on climate by providing clean and renewable energy sources, enabling member countries to fulfill their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) towards reducing global warming.
- OSOWOG will provide a strategic rebalance in favour of India and will control the increasing Chinese dominance in Asian subcontinent, providing a better alternative to developing countries.
- The first and foremost action would be to develop storage technology. In this regard, both the government and the private sector need to make a substantial investment.
- Continents like Africa can be explored for ensuring the constant supply of rare earth minerals that are important for making batteries for energy storage.
- An alternative to storage like solar thermal can be explored.
- The move is the key to future renewable-based energy systems globally because regional and international interconnected green grids can enable sharing and balancing of renewable energy across international borders.
- It allows grabbing opportunities to learn quickly from global developments and share renewable energy resources to reduce the global carbon footprint and insulate the societies from pandemics.