COP26: Green Grids Initiative – One Sun One World One Grid launched

(L-R)Dr Ajay Mathur, Director General, The International Solar Alliance (ISA)_ Shri Narendra Modi, Honorable Prime Minister of India_ Mr Boris Johnson, Hon'ble Prime Minister of the UK
(L-R)Dr Ajay Mathur, Director General, The International Solar Alliance (ISA)_ Shri Narendra Modi, Honorable Prime Minister of India_ Mr Boris Johnson, Hon’ble Prime Minister of the UK

The International Solar Alliance (ISA), India Presidency of the ISA, and the UK COP Presidency unveiled plans for the first international network of global interconnected solar power grids, known as the Green Grids Initiative – One Sun One World One Grid (GGI-OSOWOG), at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow.

The announcement was accompanied by the One Sun declaration, which stated that, “Realizing the vision of One Sun One World One Grid through interconnected green grids can be transformational, enabling all of us to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement to prevent dangerous climate change, to accelerate the clean energy transition, and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. These efforts can stimulate green investments and create millions of good jobs. By sharing the sun’s energy, we can help to build a more peaceful and prosperous world.” The declaration has been endorsed by 80 ISA member countries.

The project, being spearheaded by Governments of India & the UK in partnership with the ISA and the World Bank Group, aims to harness solar energy wherever the sun is shining, ensuring that generated electricity flows to areas that need it most. The GGI-OSOWOG will bring together a global coalition of national governments, international financial and technical organisations, legislators, power system operators and knowledge leaders to accelerate the construction of the new infrastructure needed for a world powered by clean energy. In doing so, the project aims to reduce reliance on non-renewable energy such as coal by enabling them to purchase affordable solar power from other countries.

ISA aims to help mobilize US$1 trillion of funding by 2030 to assist developing countries in expanding their solar power grids, both in transmission and generation, to meet their energy needs. The initiative is widely seen as a big and bold move in ISA’s ongoing efforts to realise a global solar transition roadmap and will go some way towards realising its vision for a solar energy future.

Speaking at the event today, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Mr Narendra Modi said: “The One Sun One World One Grid and Green Grids Initiative is an idea whose time has come. If the world has to move to a clean and green future, these interconnected transnational grids are going to be critical solutions. I congratulate the International Solar Alliance and the UK COP Presidency for bringing it nearer to implementation.

The event also featured an address by Hon’ble Prime Minister Boris Johnson of the United Kingdom, who stated: “The UK is working hand-in-hand with our friends in India to transform the future of the power sector and ensure clean and reliable electricity is accessible everywhere by the end of this decade. It’s fantastic that over 80 countries have backed our newly launched Green Grids Initiative, whose collaboration will not only see greater growth, jobs and investment in our global green future, but also make sure no one is left without access to energy.”

Following the announcement, ISA Director General, Dr. Ajay Mathur, remarked: “This network has the potential to be a modern engineering marvel, and a catalyst for greatly expanding renewable electricity generation, and effectively mitigating climate change in the next decade. At a global level, almost 2600 GW of interconnection capacity may be possible up to 2050, delivering estimated power savings of 226 billion euros per year.

The One Sun Declaration is multilateralism in action, with leaders of the world coming together to drive sustainable impactful change for a cleaner planet and a greener economy. Through the power of solar and other renewables, and our collective efforts, we believe we can build and support a transition away from fossil fuels to a cost-effective solar future and open up affordable, renewable electricity supplies to markets that have been historically underserved.”

The project will drive global interconnectivity across Middle East, South Asia, and Southeast Asia, while leveraging African power pools.

The global grid concept was first announced by India’s Prime Minister Narendra 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.