Intention, tech and capital to make ‘One Sun One World One Grid’ a reality Editorial 14th Jul’20 FinancialExpress

Clean energy future:

  • The key elements of the big picture in the energy world are becoming more and more clear.
  • The dependence on fossil fuels will continue to drop and we are not very far from a future that will be predominantly run on clean energy. 
  • It may not be long before renewable energy overtakes conventional energy produced with coal and gas. 

Progress towards clean energy over the years:

  • According to the Renewables 2019 Global Status Report, the estimated share of renewables in global electricity generation was more than 26% by the end of 2018. 
  • Net capacity additions for renewable power were higher than for fossil fuels and nuclear combined for a fourth consecutive year, and renewables now make up more than one-third of global installed power capacity.

One Sun One World One Grid (OSOWOG) or ‘Global solar grid’:

  • The idea of ‘One Sun One World One Grid’ (OSOWOG) or the ‘intercontinental solar power grid’ was originally proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the first assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) in October 2018.
  • At a recent virtual energy conference, NITI Aayog’s CEO re-introduced the idea of ‘One Sun One World One Grid’ (OSOWOG). 

Based on the fact that Sun is always available in parts of the world:

  • The driving force behind a global idea like the OSOWOG is simple. 
  • The sun is always available in some parts of the world where its light can be converted into energy.

India has taken a leadership role towards this:

  • It is a matter of great pride that India, as a co-founder of the ISA, is taking leadership in moving this global idea forward. 
  • India is also one of the fastest-growing renewable energy markets in the world. 
  • Over the last six years, India’s solar power generation capacity has increased more than eight times with an installed capacity of 35 GW as of May 2020, which is around 10% of the total installed power capacity in the country. 
  • It shows we can achieve over 400 GW of solar power capacity by 2030 or half of the total power capacity.

Falling storage will make OSOWOG a reality:

  • If increased solar power generation can be combined with dependable and economically viable storage, we have a global and sustainable source of energy.
  • The power storage aspect is also improving, with the cost of storage, which has dropped from around $1,100 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) a decade ago to around $150 now.  By some estimates, this should further drop to around $100 over 3-5 years.
  • The consistently falling cost of storage help make the OSOWOG a reality.

‘Global solar grid’ can come true with collective global efforts:

  • The global community is facing one of the most challenging moments in recent history caused by an invisible virus.
  • Despite this, history will record 2020 as the year when the world came together to fight Covid-19.
  • Our collective efforts to fight the covid pandemic shows what we can achieve as a ‘global collective’ and indicates that the plan of building a “global solar grid” should be feasible. 

ISA has an important role in taking OSOWOG forward:

  • The OSOWOG project is expected to be implemented in three phases starting with the Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia (with India being a grid-fulcrum).
  • The global network is expected to emerge in the final phase of this project. 
  • More than anything else, the success of this grand project will depend on the strength of the institutional framework and the conviction of its members. 
  • That is where the role of the ISA will be indispensable. 
  • The ISA is already working to mobilise more than a trillion dollars in investments in solar energy by 2030.

Conclusion:

  • The intention, technology and the capital that will make the OSOWOG a reality are already falling in place. 
  • The idea of creating a global network of clean energy should, by itself, inspire all of us to work together to make it a reality. 

Importance:GS Paper III: Indian Economy

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