Climate change prevention activities around the world should focus on the world’s cleanest and most abundant energy source, solar energy. Solar energy is widely available in unlimited quantities and at the same time it is economical, these characteristics make it ideal for climate change prevention activities. Harnessing the full potential of solar energy requires not just energy transition but energy transformation based on unprecedented climate support.
There are two major aspects to accomplishing this. First: the combination of technology and logistics to create an electric grid that can deliver safe, reliable and affordable renewable energy at scale to people around the world. This would require the laying of new transmission lines crossing borders and time zones, which would form an extensive modern grid. Simultaneously, mini-grid and off-grid energy access solutions will also need to be scaled up rapidly. Regions with high solar power can be interconnected through continental-level regional grids. Simultaneously, inter-regional links will link different time zones, thereby ensuring reliable supply to areas with less solar energy.
A united political will is the flip side of this energy transformation, which can focus the actions of governments, public sector companies, policy makers and mission-critical organizations. The idea of a globally interconnected solar grid was presented by the Prime Minister of India at the first meeting of the International Solar Alliance in October 2018. It was named ‘One Sun One World One Grid’, reflecting the spirit of the countries, peoples and stakeholders working together to fulfill a common objective.
Accelerating the pace of OSOWOG work, the United Kingdom and the International Solar Alliance will jointly launch the global ‘Green Grid Initiative – One Sun One World One Grid’ (GGI-OSOWOG) at COP 26 in Glasgow. GGI-OSOWOG will support technology, finance and research to facilitate cross-border renewable energy transfer projects, providing OSOWOG with global infrastructure. GGI-OSOWOG will reach national governments, international financial and technology organizations, legislators, power system operators and knowledge leaders to accelerate the creation of the new infrastructure needed for green energy. This will be a major step towards creating a global ecosystem of interconnected renewable energy for mutual benefit and global sustainability. This will speed up the work and get investment for new low-carbon solar projects. With this, skilled workers will come together for solar power based economic reforms.
The GGI-OSOWOG initiative will connect generators and demand centers on all continents with the International Power Transportation Grid. This will provide an opportunity to connect community-level power plants, rooftop systems for domestic and industrial customers, agricultural pumps, smart vehicle charging and interactive devices to ensure that the grid is completely green.
The UK COP 26 Presidency and the India ISA Presidency launched the initiative at COP 26 with the One Sun Declaration supported by 80 countries. Its aim is to create political leadership for the spread of solar energy beyond the borders of countries as well as to increase global consensus on it. Most important for better collaboration, shared cross border infrastructure, power systems, power trading, operations, technology standards, financing arrangements and collaborative research. Green Grid Initiative – One Sun One World One Grid can also boost investment and create millions of new employment opportunities.
The symbiotic sharing of solar energy has the potential to create a peaceful, ecologically sustainable and energy secure world. Solar energy has the potential to transform the new global green grid and is in line with the ambitions of the Paris Agreement. This will accelerate the fight against climate change as well as help in achieving the Global Sustainable Development Goals through access to clean energy.
Now the time has come for the whole world to take steps together to deal with the rising global temperature. The coming together of two major powers in the clean energy sector through the Green Grid Initiative – One Sun One World One Grid, will bolster efforts to tackle climate change across the world. This spirit of partnership and commonality of purpose shows that the world needs multilateral climate action to keep its carbon emissions within limits.
(The author is Director General of International Solar Alliance)