ONE SUN ONE WORLD ONE GRID – BY ASHIK PAL

One Sun One World One Grid (OSOWOG) is India’s initiative to build a global ecosystem of interconnected renewable energy resources. The blueprint for the OSOWOG will be developed under the World Bank’s technical assistance program. OSOWOG will be implemented to accelerate the deployment of grid-connected rooftop solar installations. It is planned to be completed in three phases:

— Entail interconnectivity within the Asian continent.

— Add Africa to the grid

— Internationalize the project

BENEFITS OF THE PROGRAM
— Global project which aims to power the world with clean energy.
–Tackle access to energy for underserved people and communities. For eg., it will help people access clean drinking water, access clean cooking fuel and bring lighting to millions of homes.
— Exponential leap towards clean energy transition
— It envisions the transfer of surplus renewable electricity at near-zero cost. Thus, enable access to affordable solar energy.
— Help countries like Singapore and Bangladesh which have a very high population density to have access to renewable energy.
— Address the issue of intermittency of solar power. This project will employ battery storage to make round-the-clock solar energy dispatches at greatly cheaper rates. It is the solution to tackle the challenge of solar power available only during the day. In one hour, the earth’s atmosphere receives enough sunlight to power the electricity needed by every human being on earth for a year.
— This unlimited energy is completely clean and sustainable. The only challenge is that solar energy is only available during the day and is dependent on weather conditions. One Sun, One World, One Grid is a solution for this very challenge.

PROBLEMS WHICH PROJECT MIGHT FACE:
— The project is seen as an Indian endeavor for world leadership. The mechanism of cost-sharing will be challenging, given the varied priorities of participating countries depending on their socio-economic orders.
–The coronavirus pandemic has raised questions on the concept of globalization. Dealing with different governments and market forces will be a dreadful experience for the developers that can be easily extrapolated from the experience of the renewable energy developers in India.
— Before thinking of a unified grid, let’s think about point to point. The value of time-shifting could come from a place with large, cheap land such as an enormous solar farm in North Africa for Europe. But the transmission costs will usually outweigh the benefits of land and solar radiation. Supply of energy through this grid, in a time zone with a six-hour difference, will require thousands of kilometers of transmission of the electricity, which will add up a huge cost. A single 1,100 KV high voltage direct current can’t even go so far, and the costs of capital. This is before we consider grid management and geopolitical issues for a truly integrated grid.
— There is a difference in voltage, frequency and specifications of the grid in most regions. Maintaining grid stability with renewable generation would be technically difficult. OSOWOG does not take into account the overlaps with solar generation across regions where transmission lines are passing through, which would mean that the actual transmission capacity would need to be much higher and thus have lower utilization or there would be significant solar curtailment. Aggregate technical and commercial losses in India are close to 20%. Therefore the distributed generation can be cheaper and directly serve the people in the hinterlands.

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, lead to higher efficiencies and increased asset utilization 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.

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