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CoP26 summit: One Sun One World One Grid

Context:

One Sun One World One Grid group — and was announced at COP26 by summit host United Kingdom’s Prime Minister and Indian Prime Minister

Relevance:

GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Conservation of the Environment, International Treaties and Agreements), GS-II: International Relations (India’s neighbors, Foreign Policies affecting India’s Interests), GS-III: Industry and Infrastructure (Solar Energy, Renewable Energy), GS-III: Science and Technology (Indigenization of Technology)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. One Sun One World One Grid (OSOWOG)
  2. How would the OSOWOG work?

One Sun One World One Grid (OSOWOG)

  • The One Sun One World One Grid (OSOWOG) aims to connect energy grids across borders to facilitate a faster transition to the use of renewable energy.
  • India had first proposed connecting solar energy supply across borders at the International Solar Alliance in 2018 to allow parts of the world with excess renewable power to send power to other countries.
  • The proposal is aimed at addressing the issue of reliability of supply from solar power plants, which do not generate electricity after the sun has set.
  • OSOWOG is also aimed at addressing the issue of high cost of energy storage.
  • The new Global Green Grids Initiative One Sun One World One Grid (GGI-OSOWOG) is an evolution of the International Solar Alliance’s OSOWOG multilateral drive to foster interconnected solar energy infrastructure at a global scale.
  • India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal already share transmission capacity for energy transfer across borders which can be expanded further and utilised for the transfer of solar power between these countries.

How would the OSOWOG work?

  • This initiative aims to tap solar energy and have it travel seamlessly across borders. The initiative will work towards accelerating the making of large solar power stations and wind farms in the best locations, linked together by continental-scale grids crossing national borders.
  • The sun offers a huge source of energy for mankind. All the energy humanity uses in a year is equal to the energy that reaches the earth from the sun in a single hour.
  • Given that the sun never sets and that half the planet is always receiving sunlight, there is the potential to harness solar energy continuously across the globe and trade this energy across borders to ensure adequate energy supply to meet the needs of everyone on earth.
  • A transnational grid would allow countries to source solar power from regions where it is daytime to meet their green energy needs even when their own installed solar capacity is not generating energy.
  • This initiative will bring together an international coalition of national governments, financial organisations, and power system operators.

OSOWOG can help to:

  1. prevent dangerous climate change
  2. meet the targets of the Paris Agreement
  3. accelerate the clean energy transition
  4. achieve the Sustainable Development Goals
  5. stimulate green investments
  6. create millions of good jobs

What are the challenges to the OSOWOG project?

  • The project is seen as an Indian endeavour for world leadership but under Covid-19 uncertainties, the geopolitical implications of projects like OSOWOG are hard to decipher.
  • The mechanism of cost-sharing will be challenging, given the varied priorities of participating countries depending on their socio-economic orders.
  • In India, the major issue of renewable energy developers is to deal with different state governments and hence, different laws and regulations.
  • The transmission of power across vast distances would require large capital investment to set up long transmission lines.
  • Experts have pointed out that transmission across great distances can potentially be very expensive.
  • There is a difference in voltage, frequency and specifications of the grid in most regions. Maintaining grid stability with just renewable generation would be technically difficult.

-Source: The Hindu

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October 2022
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