One Sun, One World, One Grid (OSOWOG)
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- In the run-up to the 18th G20 Summit, a day-long conference on "Transnational Grid Interconnections for One Sun, One World, One Grid (OSOWOG)" was held in New Delhi, on 6th September 2023.
- Green Grids Initiative — One Sun, One World, One Grid (GGI — OSOWOG) is an initiative by the International Solar Alliance (ISA), India, France and United Kingdom to build a Global Green Energy Grid, primarily focusing on solar and wind energy.
- The One Sun One World One Grid (OSOWOG) is an initiative to introduce a transnational electricity grid that supplies power worldwide.
Vision Behind the Initiative
- The vision behind the OSOWOG initiative is the mantra that “the sun never sets”.
- The OSOWOG initiative aims to connect different regional grids through a common grid that will be used to transfer renewable energy power and, thus, realize the potential of renewable energy sources, especially solar energy.
- The idea for this initiative was first proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during the assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) 2018. The Green Grids initiative (GGI) was launched by the United Kingdom (UK).
- This initiative intends to create a framework for international collaboration on the optimal use of renewable resources to ensure that clean and efficient energy is a reliable alternative for all countries to meet their energy requirements by 2030.
- At the Conference of Parties (COP-26) climate summit held in Glasgow in 2021, both initiatives were launched together by India and the UK as a part of bilateral cooperation in partnership with the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and the World Bank Group (WB).
- As both initiatives focused on the transition to renewable energy at a global level, they merged and became a single initiative for a common purpose called the GGI-OSOWOG.
What is its objective?
- While the sun is the source of all energy and solar energy is totally clean and sustainable, it is available only during the daytime and is dependent on the weather. OSOWOG is the solution to this challenge.
- Its objective is to aid in developing a worldwide grid through which clean energy can be transmitted anywhere, anytime (use power at night in one part of the world from solar energy generated on another side of the world where it is daytime).
- It also aims to help reduce storage needs and enhance the viability of solar projects. Its ultimate goal is to reduce carbon footprints and energy costs.
- By 2030, ISA hopes to raise $ 1 Tn in finance to help developing nations build their solar power infrastructure to meet their energy demands.
- The use of fossil fuels aided the industrialisation and development of numerous nations but at the expense of the planet's ecosystem. The OSOWOG initiative will, in a way, use renewable energy, that is, solar energy and help in the generation of power all over the world. This initiative will help in three transitions:
- Switch of energy production from fossil fuel to clean energy
- Switch of energy allocation from local balance to cross-border and global distribution
- Switch of energy consumption from coal, oil and gas to electric-centric consumption
How will it be implemented?
OSOWOG is divided into three main phases.
- In the first phase, the Indian grid would be connected to the grids of Middle East, South Asia and South-East Asia to develop a common grid. This grid would then be used to share solar energy as per need, in addition to other renewable energy sources.
- The second phase would connect the functional first phase to the pool of renewable resources in Africa.
- The third phase would look at achieving true global interconnection. The idea will be to integrate as many countries as possible to create a single power grid of renewable energy. This can then be accessed by all countries.
How will it help the world become more sustainable?
- All participants in the initiative will focus on attracting effective investments in renewable energy sources by utilizing technology, finance, and skill. When all stakeholders coordinate, it is expected to bring down project cost, and lead to higher efficiencies and increased asset utilisation for all involved.
- The initiative may have a spillover effect, as the cost-effective source of energy production could be used in other areas such as poverty alleviation, provision of drinking water, sanitation facilities, and food security. Global collaboration will bring in increased investment into research and development.
What are the challenges expected in its implementation?
- One of the big challenges for implementation will be maintaining a stable grid over a large geographical area.
- The Electricity Grid is vulnerable to accidents, weather, and cyber-attacks that are prone to increase and disrupt the electricity supply on a mass scale.
- The mechanism of cost-sharing will also be challenging as participating countries are both rich and poor nations.
Why is OSOWOG important?
- Climate change is a cause of concern not only in India but across the globe. A significant portion of the pollution produced by various non-renewable methods of power production can be ascribed to the rising levels of greenhouse gas emissions that are hastening global warming. Extreme weather changes, increases in temperature, floods, and droughts are frequent occurrences. This is not only causing the problem in a particular area or country but is affecting the globe.
- For example, deforestation in Amazon rainforests affects Brazil's ecosystem and increases carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere, increasing global temperature. At this point, renewable energy and such initiatives become the need of the hour.
- A report by Ernst & Young (EY) claims that due to coordinated effort, India is currently positioned third in the Renewable Energy Country Attractive Index for 2021. The following figure explains the steps taken toward forming this common grid.
- This will develop a common grid to increase cooperation and relation between the nations and reduce reliance on non-renewable resources.
- Non-renewable energy will deplete over time and get expensive due to a lack of availability and increasing transportation costs. This will hurt the economy as export can often be affected by war, conflict, lack of cooperation or extreme conditions. Thus, an increase in dependence on renewable energy is essential that will also prevent climate change.
- So, investing in this is beneficial as renewable energy is abundant. This will enable the creation of a single renewable energy power grid that all countries will access.
What will nations gain through OSOWOG?
- This will enable increased access to energy on a large scale. It will not only be an investment towards low-carbon emissions due to a decrease in usage of fossil fuel and other non-renewable energy but will also include cheaper living expenses and better livelihoods
- This will also reduce storage needs and enhance the viability of solar projects. Countries like India, near the equator, mostly witness the sun every day. This initiative will make total usage of solar energy, which is efficient, clean, and cost-effective and will never deplete
- It will also open a new avenue for cooperation between different countries and regions as it includes nations all over the world
- It will enable countries to meet the Paris Agreement target to prevent climate change by transitioning to renewable energy. This will also lead to sustainable development
- It will give low-carbon solar projects momentum and bring together skilled workers and new technology for a solar-powered economic recovery. Additionally, it can spur economic growth and provide millions of new green employment
- This would enable a quicker transition to an integrated global ecosystem of renewable energy sources that are shared for everyone's benefit and long-term sustainability.
Q. Realizing the vision of OSOWOG through interconnected green grids can be transformational, enabling all nations to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement to prevent dangerous climate change. Substantiate.