At COP26, India & UK launch Green Grids Initiative to offer clean power to world

The International Energy Agency’s recent analysis calls for a tripling in investment in grid expansion and modernisation from $260 billion to $800 billion annually by 2030.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend a meeting during the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, on Tuesday. (AP)
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson and India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi attend a meeting during the UN Climate Change Conference COP26 in Glasgow, Scotland, on Tuesday. (AP)
Published on Nov 03, 2021 03:09 PM IST
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By | Written by Avik Roy, New Delhi

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his United Kingdom's counterpart Boris Johnson jointly launched a new flagship international initiative late on Tuesday night at the COP26 World Leaders' Summit in Glasgow, backed by over 80 countries, to dramatically accelerate the global transition to clean powered world.

Jointly led by India and the United Kingdom, the new initiative, called ‘Green Grids Initiative – One Sun One World One Grid’ (GGI-OSOWOG), is aimed at accelerating the development and deployment of interconnected electricity grids across continents, countries and communities, and improve energy access of the poorest through mini-grids and off-grid solutions.

It features as one of the leading initiatives under the Glasgow Breakthroughs also launched at the clean innovation and technology event, part of a new joint plan that will see countries and businesses coordinate and strengthen their climate actions every year in polluting sectors to dramatically scale and speed up the deployment of clean technologies and drive down costs globally.

Apart from India and the UK, Australia, France and the United States are also part of the steering committee of the 'Green Grids Initiative'.

Modelled on the UK’s recent net-zero strategy, the Glasgow Breakthroughs will see countries and businesses coordinate and strengthen their climate actions every year in each sector to dramatically scale and speed up the deployment of clean technologies and drive down costs. The aim is for clean technologies to become the default choice this decade globally in each polluting sector and to catalyse the growth of a new economy built around new green industries and jobs globally.

In launching the GGI-OSOWOG, the two Prime Ministers unveiled the ‘One Sun Declaration’ setting out a shared vision of harnessing the full potential of clean power globally through the much greater interconnection of electricity grids across continents, countries and communities, including mini-grids and off-grid solutions to ensure no one is left without access to energy.

To meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, the world will need to transition to clean power, increasing the global reliance on renewable energy, like solar and wind power. Transitioning to this clean powered future will require developing an electricity infrastructure that is capable of coping with far greater shares of variable renewable energy, while meeting growing power demands securely, reliably and affordably.

Speaking after the launch, Prime Minister 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,” Modi said.

The GGI-OSOWOG will help make this happen, by bringing together a global coalition of energy grid stakeholders, including governments and businesses, to accelerate the expansion of energy grids across regions and continents and create the foundations for universal access to sustainable energy. This will ensure the infrastructure is in place for the whole world to be powered by renewable energy, as part of the global push to realise the clean energy transition. 

Echoing his Indian counterpart, UK's Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his country is working hand in hand with “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," Johnson said.

Keeping 1.5 degrees Celsius alive means global emissions will need to be cut in half by 2030. Achieving this will require a dramatic acceleration in innovation and deployment of clean energy solutions, and on a global scale. The International Energy Agency’s recent analysis calls for a tripling in investment in grid expansion and modernisation from $260 billion to $800 billion annually by 2030.

The initiative will help to mobilise financial and technical resources to advance grid developments, and also promote the sharing of existing expertise and best practice across the globe. This international collaboration will be key to making the clean energy transition faster, cheaper and easier for all.

The new GGI-OSOWOG initiative combines the UK Green Grids Initiative with India’s One Sun One World One Grid programme. This joint programme will create a global coalition of leading actors in the green grids field, to accelerate the expansion of energy grids across regions and continents.

As a leading new international initiative, the global GGI-OSOWOG will support the newly launched ‘Breakthrough Agenda’, and specifically the ‘Glasgow Power Breakthrough’, which aims to make ‘clean power the most affordable and reliable option for all countries to meet their power needs efficiently by 2030’.

This initiative represents the strong historic bilateral relationship between the UK and India. The launch of this initiative was first agreed upon as part of the 2030 Roadmap for India-UK future relations in May 2021.

The GGI-OSOWOG is a transformational new programme, with the goal of making universal access to renewable energy a reality, by ensuring that clean power is the most affordable and reliable option for all countries to meet their energy needs efficiently by 2030. This will help all of us to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and keep the target of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees alive, while also stimulating green investment and supporting millions of jobs worldwide.

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