A new high-level coalition for clean energy was announced today at the COP 26 Glasgow climate summit, involving major governments, international organisations, legislators, business leaders, researchers and citizen groups.
Building large solar power stations and windfarms in the best locations, linked together by continental-scale grids crossing national borders will be one of the first objectives of the coalition.
In addition to large-scale solar and wind power connected through international grids, the One Sun Declaration highlights the need for investment in solar minigrids for remote villages, smart charging for electric vehicles to help balance green grids, and new financial instruments to attract low-cost capital into clean energy.
A group of governments called the Green Grids Initiative One Sun One World One Grid have joined the greatest ever initiative to tackle global warming.
UK PM press cabinet points, this initiative is primarily aimed to help developing countries take advantage of green technology and grow their economies sustainably.
The group was announced at COP26 by summit host Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In the presence of other heads of government including US President Biden, the two Prime Ministers presented a One Sun Declaration, endorsed by more than 80 countries, setting out the group’s aims.
“One Sun One World One Grid” is a favourite phrase of Indian Prime Minister Modi. In their One Sun Declaration the national leaders say, “all the energy humanity uses in a year is equal to the energy that reaches the earth from the sun in a single hour. The sun never sets – every hour, half the planet is bathed in sunshine. By trading energy from sun, wind and water across borders, we can deliver more than enough clean energy to meet the needs of everyone on earth.”
To make this possible, they say, “we need new transmission lines crossing frontiers and connecting different time zones, creating a global ecosystem of interconnected renewables that are shared for mutual benefit.” The organisers point out that wind power must be harnessed over a wide area to provide a reliable energy supply, and the “solar day” can be lengthened for everyone by connecting different time zones.
The COP 26 (26th UN Conference on Climate Change) is currently being held in Glasgow from 31st October to 12th November 2021.
A Ministerial Steering Group
A Ministerial Steering Group will lead a process to accelerate the construction of large solar power stations and windfarms in the best locations, linked together by continental-scale grids crossing national borders.
The Steering Group includes France, India, the United Kingdom and the United States, and will also have representatives from Africa, the Gulf, Latin America and Southeast Asia.
Germany attended the first meeting as an observer while post-election negotiations on a new government continue, as did Australia.
Green Grids Initiative Working Groups, including regioanl and financial Groups
Made up of national and international agencies Green Grids Initiative Working Groups have already been established for Africa and for the Asia-Pacific region. Their membership includes most major multilateral development banks such as the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.
The Green Climate Fund, established to channel part of the $100 billion a year pledged by rich countries in the climate negotiations, is leading a Finance Working Group.
UK alone is doubling its aid-funded green investments to more than £3Bn over five years and has offered new guarantees to support clean infrastructure projects, says UK PM Cabinet’s press release.
The UK aid-backed Private Infrastructure Development Group (PIDG) will also commit more than £210m in new investment today to back transformational green projects in developing countries. The financing will go to schemes including electric vehicle manufacturing in India, green bonds in Vietnam and solar power in Burkina Faso, Pakistan, Nepal and Chad projects which are expected to mobilise more than £470m ($650m) in additional private sector finance.
UK new package of guarantees to multilateral development banks that will provide a major boost to investments in climate-related projects in India and across Africa was announced as well.
The Africa Working Group is co-convened by the AfDB and the African Union, and the Asia-Pacific group is coordinated by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. The International Energy Agency and the International Renewable Energy Agency are actively involved, as they are the ASEAN Energy Centre in Southeast Asia and the SAARC Energy Centre in South Asia.
Climate Compatible Growth Consortium
Research support for the Green Grids Initiative is being provided by the Climate Compatible Growth consortium of universities, which includes Cambridge, Imperial College, Oxford and University College London.
The Green Grids Initiative was first developed by the Climate Parliament. “By combining rooftop solar with desert solar power stations, plus offshore wind farms and hydropower, we can easily generate more than enough renewable energy to power the world. But only if we build the right grids,” said Nicholas Dunlop, Secretary-General of the Climate Parliament. “Thanks to the UK COP26 Presidency taking up the project, and Prime Minister Modi’s personal interest, we’ve begun to assemble a powerful coalition which could get those grids and power stations built faster than ever.”
Climate Parliament Chairwoman Sirpa Pietikäinen MEP, who as a young Finnish environment minister helped to lead the original negotiations on the UN Climate Convention, said, “we’ve run out of time for a leisurely global energy transition. We need new political vehicles that can go faster. That’s why we developed the Green Grids Initiative.”
Indian MP Dr Sanjay Jaiswal, who also played a key role in developing the project, said, “the Green Grids Initiative can help to generate greater political will, feed ideas and expertise into the governments, and mobilise finance to deploy clean energy faster. Those are the three key requirements for an accelerated global shift to renewables.”
30 key speakers before the Climate Parliament were: Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Indonesia, Executive Secretary, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific; Adam Bandt MP, Leader, Green Party, Australia; Will Blyth, UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office; US Congressman Charlie Crist, former Governor of Florida; Ashvin Dayal, Senior Vice-President, Rockefeller Foundation; Tom Downey, former Congressman, USA; Tareq Emtairah, Director, Energy Department, UN Industrial Development Organisation; Barry Gardiner MP, UK, former Environment Minister; Monica Gullberg, Green Climate Fund; Senator Abshiro Halake, Kenya; Silvia Hernández, former Senator and Minister, Mexico; Dr Sanjay Jaiswal MP, Chair, Climate Parliament India; Tanvir Shakil Joy MP, Chair, Climate Parliament Bangladesh; Rebecca Kamara MP, Sierra Leone; Angelique Kidjo, singer and activist; Anand Mahindra, Chairman, Mahindra Group; Prof. Yacob Mulugetta, University College London; Sam Onuigbo MP, Nigeria; Paddy Padmanathan, CEO, ACWA Power; Sirpa Pietikäinen MEP, Chair, Climate Parliament; Dr. Zanetor Rawlings MP, Ghana; Yacouba Sangaré, Deputy, Ivory Coast; Conrad Sangma, Chief Minister of Meghalaya State, India; Ayisha Siddiqa, Pakistan, co-founder of youth movement Polluters Out; Aditya Thakeray, Environment Minister, Maharashtra State, India; Moeketsi Enos Thobela, African Development Bank; William Ury, author Getting to Yes, co-founder Harvard Program on Negotiation; Alexandria Villaseñor, USA, co-founder of the Youth Climate Strike; Kandeh Yumkella MP, Sierra Leone, former Director-General of UNIDO and first Director of the UN Sustainable Energy for All programme; Deputy Juliette Zingan, Senegal.
Anand Mahindra, whose company is a major car manufacturer and solar developer said, “Nothing could be more urgent than to accelerate the shift to clean energy and electric transport around the world. Companies like ours need to partner with legislators, governments and international organisations to step up the pace. We will be an active participant in the Green Grids Initiative.”
William Ury, author and co-founder of the Harvard Program on Negotiation, said, “Today the world got to YES on the Green Grid – the project with possibly the greatest potential to solve the climate crisis and increase the quality of life for every human being on earth. Now let’s make it happen!”
Former British environment minister Barry Gardiner MP, whose long-standing personal friendship with Prime Minister Modi played an important role in convening the initiative, said, “in an interconnected world it makes no sense that governments continue to fixate on energy independence. A global green grid will make it possible for power generated anywhere to be utilised everywhere. It is cooperation on a global scale to utilise the renewable resources of water, wind and sun and to trade each country’s surplus to where it is required. This is an international political vision equal to the climate challenge we face.”