New Delhi, September 15

As part of One Sun One World One Grid (OSOWOG), India, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Singapore are in advanced stages of creating a mega grid infrastructure, which will enable trade in renewable energy from South East Asia to Europe via the Middle East.

Power Minister RK Singh on Friday said that India recently signed a memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Saudi Arabia, which includes grid interconnection.

“It will enable us to exchange electricity based on our requirements. It will also extend our reach to the Middle East grid and the European grid. Any deficits in power supply in those areas can be provided by us. Similarly, the reach of Saudi Arabia can be extended through us to the South East Asian grid, to which we will be connected,” the Minister said.

Grid interconnection from South East Asia to Europe is part of the OSOWOG initiative, which will be beneficial to all the countries participating in the sense that these countries will be able to access renewable energy (RE) at the least cost, Singh emphasised.

Grid interconnection

The OSOWOG initiative is to introduce a transnational electricity grid that supplies power worldwide. It was first proposed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during the assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) in 2018.

“We are having a similar agreement with the UAE. They are connected with the Middle East grid. So, we get connected to the Middle East grid. Then we envisage an interconnection between Middle East grid and the European grid,” Singh said elaborating on the plans.

India has had preliminary discussions with Singapore to have an undersea cable to Singapore and through Singapore to the ASEAN grid, he added.

When asked about the modalities for the ambitious project, the Minister said “Many industries and developers have evinced interest. Getting hold of finance will not be a problem. The only requirement would be to see if there is enough traffic because if there is sufficient traffic between the regions then the transmission cost per unit will become affordable.”

Singh said that a group has been formed, which is conducting various feasibility studies on these issues.

“We believe that it will be viable. We independently started the feasibility study when the Prime Minister announced the OSOWOG initiative. We have already started moving towards South East Asian countries. We would wait for studies to be completed. But, by and large, the quantum of traffic which we foresee developing between the regions, I think would be quite substantial. It should be viable,” the Minister opined.

Transnational grids

The Minister emphasised that OSOWOG will change the power trading dynamics in Asia as the interconnected grid will help reduce battery storage, which is costly.

“The concept behind OSOWOG is that when the sun sets in Vietnam, it will be shining in India. Similarly, when the sun sets in India, it will be shining in Saudi Arabia or vice versa. So, you do away with the requirement for storage. Now, storage is expensive. Our bid for storage gave us a rate of Rs 10 per kilowatt. Even pumped hydro is in the range of Rs 5.50 per kilowatt,” he explained.

Singapore, which has limited availability of land to set up solar parks, has set a target to have an import capacity of up to 4 gigawatts (GW) of low-carbon electricity by 2035.

In June 2022, Singapore did its first cross-border import of 100 megawatts (MW) of hydropower from Lao PDR via Thailand and Malaysia using existing interconnectors.

This was part of the Lao PDR-Thailand-Malaysia-Singapore Power Integration Project (LTMS-PIP), which commenced on June 23, 2022, marking a historic milestone as the first RE import into Singapore. It is also the first multilateral cross-border electricity trade involving four ASEAN countries.