US backs India-UK led solar Green Grids Initiative at COP26
London: The US has partnered with the UK and India-led Green Grids Initiative of a global energy grid launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow.
At a meeting of the Steering Committee of the Green Grids Initiative – ‘One Sun One World One Grid’ (GGI-OSOWOG) earlier this week, US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm said that the US is excited to be back in the climate conversation and to partner with the new initiative.
“All the energy humanity uses in a year is equal to the energy that reaches the earth from the sun in a single hour,” said Granholm.
“The GGI-OSOWOG is focusing on the two most important pieces of the puzzle. We at the US Department of Energy are happy to be a partner with GGI-OSOWOG,” she said.
The International Solar Alliance (ISA) under India’s presidency and the UK’s COP26 Presidency had launched GGI-OSOWOG during the World Leaders’ Summit of COP26 on Tuesday.
The Steering Committee of GGI-OSOWOG comprises five members besides India and the UK – the US, Australia and France – and has been set up to deliver the vision of One Sun One World One Grid under which 80 countries have resolved to combine their efforts to create more interconnected grids, endorsing the ‘One Sun Declaration’.
Energy Secretary Granholm told the meeting this week that the US is focusing on next-generation technologies to ensure solar panels and grids are consistently efficient across markets and geographies.
“The US is interested in helping countries that do not have access to electricity by leveraging the power of the sun,” she said.
Following the leader-level events of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 26th Conference of Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on Monday and Tuesday, each country’s delegates and officials have been participating in a series of meetings to finalise the way forward to tackle climate change by the end of the summit on November 12.
The Indian team includes Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupendra Yadav and chief negotiator Richa Sharma.
“We must return to the sun to save the earth. As the world progresses to achieve new heights economically and socially, solar energy will power the transition,” said Yadav.
“The GGI-OSOWOG initiative has sustainable development and climate change mitigation at its core with focus on underserved areas. It will stimulate green investment and create millions of green jobs,” he said.
The One Sun Declaration for GGI-OSOWOG will be focused on building new transmission lines crossing frontiers and connecting different time zones, creating a global ecosystem of interconnected renewables that are shared for mutual benefit and global sustainability.
This will be combined with expanded and modernised national and regional grids and complemented with the rapid scale-up of mini-grids and off-grid solar solutions.
Dr Ajay Mathur, Director General of International Solar Alliance, said: “The success of the massive GGI-OSOWOG initiative depends on a country’s own grid expansion plans, which would require investments”.
“The grid interconnections at intra and inter regional levels play a significant role to decarbonise our energy systems by using solar and other renewable energy sources placed in different time zones and amplifying that impact at large scale.
“We look forward to a highly interconnected geo-economic future that assimilates large scale international networks and arrangements for a better and more resilient interconnected world that will keep more decisions locally empowered but at a global level,” Mathur said.
The World Bank has also expressed its support as it expects this initiative to help leverage the benefits of complementarity between renewable generators and non-centres across continents by getting them interconnected.
“The OSOWOG initiative has the potential to integrate the global electricity system into one that is geared towards a higher share of variable renewable energy while reducing consumption of fossil fuel.
“This will usher in a new era of harnessing a much higher share of renewable energy capitalising the energy transition that is taking place globally and helping build an ecosystem based on mutual trust and shared benefit,” said Riccardo Puliti, Vice President for Infrastructure at the World Bank.
The ISA, launched at COP21 in Paris and recently expanded to include all UN member states, aims to help mobilise USD 1 trillion of funding by 2030 to assist developing countries in expanding their solar power grids.
The initiative is widely seen as a big and bold move in ISA’s ongoing efforts to realise a global solar transition.
The global grid concept was first announced by Prime Minister Modi in October 2018 during the first assembly of the ISA.
In May 2021, the UK pledged technical, financial and research support for the OSOWOG project.