Fourth Assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA)

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    • This virtual meeting was presided by the Union  Minister for Power, New and Renewable Energy (GoI) and the President of the ISA Assembly.

    Key Points Discussed

    • India: 
      • Solar & renewable energy: 
        • It is time to get together to make energy access using solar and renewable energy available. 
      • Energy access: 
        • Solving the problem of energy access is more important than the energy transition. 
        • The ISA can enable energy access for 800 million people worldwide.
      • Energy transition: 
        • The energy transition is meaningless for those without energy. 
        • It is time for developed countries to direct the energy transition funds that were committed at previous climate conferences. 
      • Credit guarantees:
        • ISA will cover credit guarantees and help in driving green energy investments in these countries. 
      • Onus on developed countries:
        • Developed nations must decide whether economic development should take place through clean energy, or by burning coal and firewood. 
    • Global: 
      • Energy access:
        • This is an important year to access modern and sustainable energy. 
        • The ideas shared in the first energy summit convened by the UN General Assembly are also our priorities in the International Solar Alliance. 
        • Closing the energy access gap by 2030, decarbonising energy systems by increasing solar and wind power capacity and mobilising large scale financing and technological dissemination in renewable energy are key objectives. 
        • COP26 is working hard to ensure no one is left behind. Thus, international cooperation is at the heart of the conference
    • 2 New Programmes Launched:
      • Management of Solar PV panels & battery usage waste & Solar Hydrogen programme
      • Hydrogen initiative: 
        • It is aimed at enabling the use of solar electricity to produce hydrogen at a more affordable rate than what is available currently (USD 5 per KG), by bringing it down to USD 2 per KG. 
        • Making hydrogen cost competitive with natural gas presents major challenges for both supply and performance. 
        • However, bringing down the costs can unlock a cascade of benefits. 
        • The MSME clusters can replace diesel gensets with hydrogen, which are viable even at today’s solar hydrogen prices. 
        • The discussions also focused on how ISA’s waste management programme will be pivotal for the growing volume of waste & toxic materials, lack of waste specific legislation, and high cost of waste treatment.

    India and United Kingdom Cooperation

    • The UK has made clean power transition a top priority. 
    • The main challenge is the transition to green power, figuring out how to build and operate electricity grids and meeting our global power needs sustainably, affordably, and reliably. 
    • Solution: To meet these challenges, we need new transmission lines coordinated with mini grids and off-grid energy access solutions, supported by modern power systems. 
    • The UK and India will together bring the ‘Green Grids Initiative’ and ‘One Sun, One World, One Grid’ at COP26. This is aimed at mobilizing the global technical, financial and research cooperation because by working together,  the scale and pace of the clean power transition aim could be delivered.

    One Sun One World One Grid (OSOWOG) Initiative

    • Origin: The concept of a single global grid for solar was first outlined at the First Assembly of the ISA in late 2018. 
    • Aim: It envisions building and scaling inter-regional energy grids to share solar energy across the globe, leveraging the differences of time zones, seasons, resources, and prices between countries and regions. 
    • Benefit: OSOWOG will also help decarbonise energy production, which is today the largest source of global greenhouse gas emissions. 
    • Cooperative efforts: Aiming to synergize its efforts and actions with other similar initiatives globally, OSOWOG has joined hands with GGI to form a unified GGI-OSOWOG initiative, which aims to contribute to the collaborative, rapid development of resilient grids globally – building on continental, regional and national grid infrastructure programs. 
    • Multi pronged: The UK COP Presidency, the Government of India, and the Presidency of the ISA, are expected to announce this collaboration at COP26, to facilitate increased technical, financial, and research cooperation to help deliver the joint vision of the two initiatives.
    • Leap towards renewable energy: This collaboration will be another leap towards a global ecosystem of interconnected renewables shared for mutual benefits and global sustainability and collectively become one of the most resilient steps to mitigate Climate change and support the global energy transition.

    International Solar Alliance (ISA)

    • It was launched at COP21 (2015), the UN climate meeting in Paris.
    • This is a treaty-based intergovernmental organization.
    • The Headquarters is in India with its Interim Secretariat being set up in Gurugram.
    • It has 122 sun-belt countries as its prospective member countries and currently has 98 Signatory countries globally.
      • It is the largest grouping of states, after the United Nations.
    • The sunshine countries lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
    • Vision: Let us together make the sun brighter.
    • Mission: Every home no matter how far away, will have a light at home.
    • The Assembly is the apex decision-making body of the ISA. It meets annually at the Ministerial level at the seat of the ISA.
    • ISA is set to launch the World Solar Bank in UNFCCC COP26 scheduled in 2021.

    Source: PIB