India’s ‘sun never sets’ global grid initiative enters next step

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EDF is reported to lead the consortium to develop a vision and roadmap for achieving India’s ‘One Sun One World One Grid’ (OSOWOG) project.

The other members of the consortium are the French multidisciplinary consultancy Application Européenne de Technologies et de Services (AETS) and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) from India.

The 13 month project under the leadership of India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) is aimed to deliver a long term vision and action plan with pilot project proposals that can be implemented to drive the initiative forward.

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OSOWOG is a proposal from India’s prime minister Narendra Modi to create an inter-continental grid, drawing on the mantra that ‘the sun never sets’ and at any given time is present at some geographical location.

India, through the OSOWOG initiative, plans to take another leap towards building a global ecosystem of interconnected renewable energy resources that are seamlessly shared for mutual benefits and global sustainability, according to the project RFP document.

The initiative is planned across three phases. In phase one, India would interconnect with the Middle East and South and South East Asia grids. Phase two would see this first phase interconnection interconnected to the African power pools and other solar and renewable rich areas. Then in phase three the interconnections would be extended globally.

The RFP document envisages that two or three cross-border interconnections could be initiated within one to two years, preferably one each with the Middle East, South East Asia and Africa regions, considering India as the grid ‘fulcrum’.

The consortium also is required to deliver an institutional framework for international co-operation, steering arrangements and governance.

India is the not the first to consider a global grid and OSOWOG would appear to be its answer to China’s ‘Belt and Road’ initiative, which has made very similar proposals from an energy perspective.

Europe’s Joint Research Centre has made studies on interconnections out of Europe west to North America and east to China. The China study found that the technology is mature enough for interconnection from Europe to be built but that the benefits needed to be envisaged. The cost was estimated between €15-28 billion depending on the route and numbers of countries crossed.

The North America interconnection study found that a 4,000MW submarine cable could bring an annual socio-economic benefit of €177 million in 2030 and that the benefits are sufficient to cover the investment costs, which were estimated at €1.6 trillion.