This idea of ‘One Sun, One World One Grid’ (OSOWOG) was first introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2018 during the first assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA).
What is OSOWOG?
OSOWOG is a trans-national electricity grid supplying solar power across the globe. Through this system, it will be possible for any country to sell or supply electricity generated by solar power to any other country in the world.
For example, If India produces solar power, it can sell it to cold countries like Finland, Sweden, Norway, or Europe in the near future. Africa could also prove to be a huge market for selling solar power. So, the possibilities are endless.
Now, the first question that arises is how will we supply the electricity that we generate in India, to transfer such a prodigious amount of energy, we will need a very large grid. We are familiar with the fact that in India we provide electricity by underground grids or by towers. Another problem is that India’s supply of electricity to European countries is guarded by Pakistan.
To overcome these obstacles, India is planning to develop an undersea cable grid. It is through these cables that we will supply electricity to the rest of the world.
It is evident that this is a humungous project that will demand at least 10-15 years or even 20 years to get done. This project needs a huge investment too. It will take about $30-40 billion only to connect India to Africa. This scheme will increase the influence of India in the world. In June, the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy came out with a Request For Proposal (RFP) to hire consultants for converting this idea into policy. Several policy experts cited it as a part of India’s answer to China’s One Belt One Road infrastructure initiative, which entails investment in close to 70 countries.
According to the draft plan prepared by the MNRE, the ambitious OSOWOG will connect 140 countries by a common grid. This grid will transfer solar power to these countries.
“The vision behind the OSOWOG mantra is “the sun never sets” and is constant at some geographical location, globally, at any given time.
With India at the fulcrum, the solar spectrum can easily be divided into two broad zones viz. far East which would include countries like Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Lao, Cambodia, and far West which would cover the Middle East and the Africa Region,” MNRE said in the term of reference in the RFP published to hire consultants for OSOWOG.
Three phases of the plan
The plan is divided into three phases: the first phase will connect the Indian grid with the Middle East, South Asia, and South-East Asian grid to share solar and other renewable energy resources.
The second phase will connect the first phase nations with the African pool of renewable sources.
The third phase will be the concluding step of the global interconnections.
India is setting its foot to dominate the world. This project is a very good opportunity for India to its capabilities. Many Chinese companies are already active in Africa, whereas India has taken a small step with ISA.
The MNRE has also halted the RFP to hire consultants until further notice. COVID-19 was one of the reasons for delaying the hiring process. The sooner the project starts, the better it is, given the size of the project.