The world's first transnational solar power grid that connects multiple countries was unveiled on November 2 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his UK counterpart Boris Johnson. The announcement came at the 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) being held in Glasgow, a meeting that is essential for humanity to mitigate climate change.
"One Sun, One World & One Grid will not only reduce storage needs but also enhance the viability of solar projects. This creative initiative will not only reduce carbon footprints and energy cost but also open a new avenue for cooperation between different countries and regions," said PM Modi about the ambitious "Green Grids Initiative: One Sun One World One Grid (GGI-OSOWOG)" that seeks to connect 140 nations.
"What we want… is to take these inventions, these breakthroughs, and get them the finance and the support they need to make sure that they are disseminated through the whole world," added UK PM Johnson.
What is OSOWOG?
The GGI-OSOWOG initiative seeks to harness the energy of the Sun, wherever it is shining as the Earth completes its 24-hour rotation on its axis that creates our day and night cycle.
The transnational grid would ensure that whenever the Sun is shining, its power is being harnessed through solar power grids and then the energy transported to wherever it's needed the most.
While regional power-sharing grids have existed before, like the Australia-Singapore energy sharing project, China’s GEIDCO, and the Nord Pool, the GGI-OSOWOG will be the first global power grid initiative.
The initiative will involve national governments, international financial and technical organizations, legislators, power system operators and knowledge leaders. It will aim to accelerate the adaptation of solar energy and reduce the dependency of nations on non-renewable energy. Nations will be able to purchase affordable solar power from other countries, instead of relying on fuels like coal.
Who will build the global grid?
The idea of OSOWOG was first introduced by PM Modi in 2018 during the first International Solar Alliance, a group of 99 countries that have rich solar resource availability, assembly. The UK pledged its own technical and financial support by combining the GGI idea with the OSOWOG project in May 2021.
The International Solar Alliance (ISA) itself was formed by France and India at the OP25 in Paris, where the Paris Climate Accord was brokered.
The project is being led by India, the UK, the ISA and will get aid from the World Bank.
The project is slated to be built in three phases, the modalities of which will be revealed in more detail as the ISA-backed research papers are published. During the first phase, the project will drive interconnectivity across the Middle East, South Asia and Southeast Asia. The second phase will focus on the African continent, and the third will focus on global interconnections of the grids built in the previous two phases.
Other details like the management of the solar grid are also awaited. The ISA will be leading the mobilisation of $1 trillion for the rapid development and infrastructure improvement of countries' solar power grids.
(Edited by : Yashi Gupta)