India, UK unveil 1st global initiative for interconnected solar grids at COP26

Highlights :

  • The project will drive global interconnectivity across Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia, while leveraging African power pools.
  • The global grid concept was first announced by PM Modi in October 2018 during the first assembly of the ISA. In May 2021, the UK pledged technical, financial and research support for the OSOWOG project.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson jointly launched a new flagship international initiative yesterday, at the COP26 World Leaders Summit, backed by over 80 countries, to dramatically accelerate the global transition to clean powered world.

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The International Solar Alliance (ISA), India Presidency of the ISA, and the UK COP Presidency unveiled plans for this first international network of global interconnected solar power grids, known as the Green Grids Initiative – One Sun One World One Grid (GGI-OSOWOG).

The project, being spearheaded by India & the UK in partnership with the ISA and the World Bank Group, aims to harness solar energy wherever the sun is shining, ensuring that generated electricity flows to areas that need it most. The GGI-OSOWOG will bring together a global coalition of national governments, international financial and technical organisations, legislators, power system operators and knowledge leaders to accelerate the construction of the new infrastructure needed for a world powered by clean energy. In doing so, the project aims to reduce reliance on non-renewable energy such as coal by enabling them to purchase affordable solar power from other countries.

It features as one of the leading initiatives under the Glasgow Breakthroughs also launched at the clean innovation and technology event, part of a new joint plan that will see countries and businesses coordinate and strengthen their climate actions every year in polluting sectors to dramatically scale and speed up the deployment of clean technologies and drive down costs globally.

“The UK is working hand in hand with our friends in India to transform the future of the power sector and ensure clean and reliable electricity is accessible everywhere by the end of this decade. It’s fantastic that over 80 countries have backed our newly launched Green Grids Initiative, whose collaboration will not only see greater growth, jobs and investment in our global green future, but also make sure no one is left without access to energy,” said Johnson.

“The One Sun One World One Grid and Green Grids Initiative is an idea whose time has come. If the world has to move to a clean and green future, these interconnected transnational grids are going to be critical solutions. I congratulate the International Solar Alliance and the UK COP Presidency for bringing it nearer to implementation,” said Modi.

Keeping 1.5C alive means global emissions will need to be cut in half by 2030. Achieving this will require a dramatic acceleration in innovation and deployment of clean energy solutions, and on a global scale. The International Energy Agency’s recent analysis calls for a tripling in investment in grid expansion and modernisation from $260bn to $800bn annually by 2030.

ISA aims to help mobilize US$1 trillion of funding by 2030 to assist developing countries in expanding their solar power grids, both in transmission and generation, to meet their energy needs. The initiative is widely seen as a big and bold move in ISA’s ongoing efforts to realise a global solar transition roadmap and will go some way towards realising its vision for a solar energy future.

“This network has the potential to be a modern engineering marvel, and a catalyst for greatly expanding renewable electricity generation, and effectively mitigating climate change in the next decade. At a global level, almost 2600 GW of interconnection capacity may be possible up to 2050, delivering estimated power savings of 226 billion euros per year,” remarked ISA Director General Dr. Ajay Mathur.

The project will drive global interconnectivity across Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia, while leveraging African power pools. The global grid concept was first announced by PM Modi in October 2018 during the first assembly of the ISA. In May 2021, the UK pledged technical, financial and research support for the OSOWOG project.

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Soumya Duggal

Soumya is a master's degree holder in English, with a passion for writing. It's an interest she has directed towards environmental writing recently, with a special emphasis on the progress being made in renewable energy.

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