The COP26 climate conference in Glasgow saw the International Solar Alliance (ISA), India Presidency of the ISA, and the UK COP Presidency unveil plans for the first transnational network of solar power grids.
This global supergrid project, known as the Green Grids Initiative – One Sun One World One Grid (GGI-OSOWOG), aims to harness solar energy wherever the sun is shining, ensuring that generated electricity flows to areas that need it most. It is spearheaded by the Governments of India and the UK, and implemented by ISA, in partnership with the World Bank Group.
Under the plans released in Glasgow, ISA intends to push for a network of interconnected green grids in the coming years. As part of its first phase, the project will drive interconnectivity across the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia. The second will focus on African power pools, while the third will drive global green grids interconnections.
The GGI-OSOWOG plan announcement was accompanied by the One Sun declaration endorsed by 80 ISA member countries, which stated that “Realizing the vision of One Sun One World One Grid through interconnected green grids can be transformational, enabling all of us to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement to prevent dangerous climate change, to accelerate the clean energy transition, and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. These efforts can stimulate green investments and create millions of good jobs. By sharing the sun’s energy, we can help to build a more peaceful and prosperous world.”
The GGI-OSOWOG will bring together a global coalition of national governments, international financial and technical organizations, 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.
As the chief agency leading and delivering the project, ISA aims to help mobilize US$1 trillion of funding by 2030 to assist developing countries in expanding their solar power grids to meet their energy access, energy security, and energy transition needs. The initiative is widely seen as a big and bold move ahead on the ISA’s solar transition roadmap and will go some way towards realizing its vision for a solar energy future.
The global grid concept was first announced by India’s Prime Minister Narendra 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.
Speaking at the event, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi said: “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 costs but also open a new avenue for cooperation between different countries and regions.
“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.”
The event also featured an address by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who stated: “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.”
President Biden supported the GGI-OSOWOG initiative in his speech at the launch event saying: “We have to scale up clean technologies that are already commercially available and cost-competitive like wind and solar energy.”
The ISA, launched at COP21 in Paris, has recently expanded its membership scope to include all UN member states. There are 90 signatories and 193 prospective members. The ISA provides a dedicated platform for cooperation, through which the global community, including governments, bilateral and multilateral organizations, corporates, industry, and other stakeholders, can contribute to help achieve the common goal of increasing the use and quality of solar energy in meeting energy needs of prospective ISA member countries in a safe, convenient, affordable, equitable and sustainable manner.
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