Green Grids Initiative COP26

Feb 1, 2022
5 min read

According to a recent assessment by the International Energy Agency, annual grid expansion and modernization investments should quadruple from $260 billion to $800 billion by 2030. Prime Minister Narendra Modi (India) and his British counterpart Boris Johnson jointly presented a new flagship global project, backed by over 80 countries, to significantly accelerate the global transition to sustainable energy at the COP26 World Leaders' Summit in Glasgow.

Introduction

During the World Leaders' Summit at COP26 on Tuesday, November 2, 2021, the Prime Ministers of India and the United Kingdom unveiled the Green Grids Initiative One Sun One World One Grid (GGI-OSOWOG). The International Solar Alliance (ISA) efforts are led by India and endorsed by the UK's COP26 core team. Prime Minister Narendra Modi first presented the concept during the ISA's inaugural session in October 2018, when he urged that solar energy be connected across borders.

The new GGI-OSOWOG is another step forward in the International Solar Alliance's global efforts to develop solar energy infrastructure. It also acts as a model coalition for strengthening bilateral ties between India and the United Kingdom. "The Green Grids Initiative intends to begin with a coalition of the willing, such as two nations that would mutually benefit from solar power transmission and, over time, lower solar prices throughout the world," said ISA Director-General Dr. Ajay Mathur.

This infrastructure consists of considerably increased renewable energy generating capacity in energy-rich regions, all of which are connected by continental networks. Millions of solar cells, electric vehicle charging stations, micro-grids for rural areas, and weather resilience are all connected via smart grids. The project's primary goals are to enhance global collaboration for large-scale renewable energy capacity addition, improve demand-side flexibility, and deal with the unpredictability of renewable energy output. The project will be completed in stages. The first connects West Asia, South Asia, and Southeast Asia, the second spread to African power pools, and the third perhaps leads to global grid connectivity.

Cross-border electricity trading in deregulated power markets can optimize renewable energy installations while lowering electricity rates. Long-term planning and commitment to building a global grid would attract investment, mitigate country-specific risks, generate employment, and improve technology. Against this backdrop, the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and Bloomberg Philanthropies recently announced a $1 trillion deal to finance solar energy programs in ISA member nations throughout the world. Furthermore, the two organizations worked together with the World Resources Institute (WRI) to produce a Solar Investment Action Agenda and Roadmap, which was also announced during COP26.

What's Ahead for the GGI-OSOWOG

The United States declared its desire to join the endeavour at the Steering Committee meeting following the formation of the GGI-OSOWOG. The truth that "all the power humanity utilizes in one year is equivalent to the power that arrives the globe from the sun in one hour," as declared by Jennifer Granholm, US Secretary of Energy, attracted attention to this critical initiative spearheaded by India and the United Kingdom.

The World Bank has teamed up with the initiative's Standing Committee's five-member countries (India, the United Kingdom, the United States, Australia, and Paris). It wants to use this cooperation to exploit the paybacks of renewable generators and non-center complementarity across states.

The GGI-OSOWOG initiative has the potential to shift the global electrical grid away from fossil fuels and toward more variable renewable energy sources. As a consequence, a new era of collecting a considerably larger percentage of renewable energy, taking advantage of the global energy transition, and contributing to the building of an ecosystem built on mutual trust and shared advantages will usher in.

Some facts about the initiative

  • The United Kingdom and India want to improve global energy power grid connections.
  • More than 80 nations have signed up for the 'Green Grids Initiative.'
  • It will allow places with plenty of renewable energy to send it to areas with scarcity.
  • These grids are "important answers," according to India's Prime Minister Modi, for pushing the world toward a "clean and green future."
  • The agenda is a portion of a big ambition to accelerate the adoption of low-carbon technology that will benefit more than 70% of the global economy.

As a leading new international initiative, the global GGI-OSOWOG will support the recently launched 'Breakthrough Agenda,' specifically the 'Glasgow Power Breakthrough,' which aims to create "clean energy the most reasonable and dependable alternative for all nations to fulfill their energy requirements effectively by 2030."

Role of India in the Initiative

During the COP26 Facilitative Sharing of Views (FSV) on November 7, 2020, India presented its 3rd Biennial Update Report (BUR) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). India's achievement of a 24 percent drop in emission intensity relative to GDP from 2005 to 2014 and a stronger emphasis on solar energy utilization were the highlights of the presentation.

The COVID-19 outbreak has recently wreaked havoc throughout the globe. It also stressed the importance of solid medical facilities and infrastructure for administering life-saving chilled vaccines. As the country struggles with periodic heat waves and power outages, the importance of green energy, particularly solar energy, in addressing these challenges has become apparent. Access to renewable energy sources may significantly impact health care facilities for many people, particularly in India's rural areas where the pandemic is causing havoc, possibly defining the difference between life and death.

India was willing to concede the advantages of solar power even before COVID-19. The government has set a lofty aim: by 2022, it will have generated 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar power capacity. Commercial and industrial customers would profit since they account for 74% of present energy capacity, compared to only 13% for residential customers and public sector organizations.

It had 38.8 GW of solar power installed in December 2020, comprising ground-mounted and rooftop installations. Other critical infrastructure, such as transportation, is also powered by solar energy. Rewa solar park, India's largest solar arrays, powers the New Delhi metro train, which transports over 2.6 million passengers every day. Communities are becoming more empowered – both physically and metaphorically – due to government-led projects like 24x7 - Power for All, which aims to supply energy to every family 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

According to the BUR, India's solar capacity has expanded by 17 times in the last seven years, reaching 45 gigawatts. According to the study, despite having 17 percent of the world's population, China has historically contributed 4% of cumulative emissions, with current greenhouse gas emissions accounting for only 5% of overall emissions.

Role of UK in the Initiative

At the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, more than 80 nations advocated the "Green Grids Initiative," which could serve as a benchmark for how rich countries can assist poorer countries in reducing emissions and meeting the goal of keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

"If the planet is to transition to a cleaner and greener tomorrow, these integrated transnational grids will be vital answers," Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in a statement.

According to Matthew Wald, an independent energy expert in the United States, the idea emphasizes the need for more transmission lines since renewable energy sources must typically be placed far from municipalities, unlike coal or gas-fired installations, whose fuel can be carried in.

"Planners in many countries, notably the former Soviet Union, have long dreamed of low-cost transmission across time zones but have made little progress," says Wald. Despite recent developments in powerline technology, Wald and others believe the project will be too costly.

Conclusion

This endeavour highlights the long-standing bilateral relationship between the United Kingdom and India. This initiative was first agreed upon in May 2021 as part of the 2030 Roadmap for Future Relations between India and the United Kingdom.

The GGI-OSOWOG is a game-changing new initiative that aims to provide universal access to renewable energy by 2030 by guaranteeing that clean energy is the most cost-effective and dependable alternative for all countries to satisfy their energy demands. This will assist us in achieving the Paris Agreement's aims and keep the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius alive while promoting green investment and supporting millions of jobs throughout the world.