29 June, 2020
4 Min Read
“Global solar grid could cause sun burns”
Part of: GS-III- Energy security (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
In recent years, India has leveraged forums like the G20 and the UNFCCC to collaborate with major powers in new areas of growth and in bringing about global reforms. One such initiative is One Sun One World One Grid’ (OSOWOG).
Under OSOWOG vision, India seeks to replicate its global solar leadership (International Solar Alliance) by encouraging the phased development of a single globally connected solar electricity grid to leverage the multiple benefits (Low cost, Zero pollution) of solar energy.
The underlying logic behind OSOWOG is that a grid spread across multiple time zones could balance intermittent renewables with other renewables: the setting sun in one part of the grid is made up for by solar, wind or hydropower produced in a distant place.
OSOWOG seems to be a brilliant idea in pursuit of sustainable development. However, it faces certain challenges in its implementation.
Creation of Supranational Rule-Based Organisation: Institution building is key to fulfilling the ambitions of a multi-country grid project. In this context, ISA can act as an independent supranational institution to take decisions about how the grid should be run and conflicts settled.
Promoting MicroGrids: Along with prioritizing designing microgrids, public policy attention is needed for developing battery technologies at scale for local applications.
Constructively Engaging with China: Given India’s dependence on Chinese imports, OSOWOG will have to find ways of engaging with Chinese ambitions in a constructive manner rather than in a zero-sum way. Also, there is a pressing need to build its domestic capacity in solar equipment under the Make in India program.
Establishing a global solar grid is a novel idea, especially in context of climate change. However, underlying issues in its implementation needs to be addressed first. Apart from it, India can explore the possibility of establishing a federation of regional grids like SAARC grid.
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