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Conf. on Transnational Grid Interconnections for One Sun, One World, One Grid Held in New Delhi

All G20 nations recently came together at the Energy Transitions Ministerial in Goa, acknowledging the importance of grid interconnections and resilient energy infrastructure in boosting energy security.

Shivam Dwivedi
Conf. on Transnational Grid Interconnections for One Sun, One World, One Grid Held in New Delhi (Source: PIB)
Conf. on Transnational Grid Interconnections for One Sun, One World, One Grid Held in New Delhi (Source: PIB)

On September 6, 2023, in New Delhi, a major one-day symposium named "Transnational Grid Interconnections for One Sun, One World, One Grid (OSOWOG)" was held in advance of the 18th G20 Summit. The conference was held at the invitation of the Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (POWERGRID), a 'Maharatna' company under the Ministry of Power, Government of India, and was intended to further initiatives and discussions pertaining to global energy interconnectivity.

Union Minister for Power and New & Renewable Energy, R. K. Singh, addressed the conference virtually, emphasizing India's commitment to enhancing cross-border energy connections. He stated that OSOWOG will enable all nations to reap the benefits of solar energy. This is particularly relevant as we transition towards renewable energy sources. This initiative will make round-the-clock renewable energy more cost-effective and reduce the need for energy reserves, ultimately lowering electricity costs for the general population and facilitating a smoother energy transition.

Minister Singh also stressed that OSOWOG would eliminate the dependence on costly energy storage solutions, ensuring uninterrupted access to electricity for all. He expressed optimism, stating that once OSOWOG becomes a reality, no one will ever have to go without electricity. This ambitious endeavor will unite the world and provide energy access to millions of people currently lacking it.

Distinguished speakers at the inaugural session included Special Secretary & Financial Adviser of the Ministry of Power, Ashish Upadhyaya; Chairperson of the Central Electricity Authority (CEA), Ghanshyam Prasad; Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Power, Ajay Tewari; and CMD of POWERGRID, K. Sreekant. The event attracted participants from various sectors, including think tanks, industry representatives, academia, sector experts, and media.

The conference featured a panel of esteemed experts from both India and abroad. Waleed S. Alsuraih from The World Bank discussed the Transnational Grid Interconnection-Middle East & Africa perspective. He highlighted the potential of the Pan Arab Electricity Market (PAEM) to enable interregional grid integration between South Asia, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), the European Union (EU), Africa, and trade across five regional electricity markets. PAEM's envisaged grid connections hold promise for further integration with other regional markets.

Pankaj Batra, Senior Advisor at IRADe, provided insights into the ASEAN perspective, emphasizing the complementarity of energy resources in SAARC, BIMSTEC, and ASEAN countries through transnational interconnections. Ashok Pal, Deputy COO at CTUIL, discussed technical considerations and business models of existing Indian cross-border interconnections, while S. R. Narasimhan, CMD of Grid Controller of India, shared insights into the system operation aspects of regional grid interconnections.

Dr. S. K. Chatterjee, Chief of the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), delved into the regulatory and legal aspects of regional grid interconnection, and Niket Jain, Chief Manager at Siemens Energy, explored various technologies for transnational interconnections. The session on OSOWOG was moderated by Shubhranshu Patnaik of Deloitte India, and the conference concluded with a vote of thanks delivered by Abhay Chaudhary, Director (Projects) at POWERGRID.

Globally, the transition to clean energy sources and energy security, driven by increased renewable capacity, has become a focal point for sustainability. Leveraging solar, wind, and hydropower, which are available worldwide throughout the day, offers the potential to generate clean energy sufficient to meet global demands. However, achieving this requires the establishment of transnational electricity exchange through grid interconnections. This vision aligns with the goal of One Sun, One World, One Grid, facilitating energy security for a sustainable future through interconnected global electricity grids.

India, as the host of the G20 summit and under the theme "Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam" (One Earth, One Family, One Future), has underscored the significance of transnational grid interconnections in enhancing energy security, driving economic growth, and providing universal energy access in an affordable, reliable, and sustainable manner. This approach accelerates the integration of renewable energy sources into the global energy landscape, enhancing overall resiliency.

The nations called for increased public and private investments and emphasized the role of international financial institutions, including Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs), in assisting developing countries in harnessing the benefits of regional and cross-border interconnections. This collaborative effort is expected to pave the way for a more interconnected and sustainable global energy future.

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