The world today is no longer standing at the crossroads of undecisive paths. According to the latest ‘World Energy Outlook’ report released by IEA, power generation from renewables has been the only major energy source that showed continuous growth in 2020 globally. It also states that solar is slated to become the critical source of energy in the coming years. The trend is clear. However, while every piece is falling into place, there remains a two-fold challenge ahead of us.
Despite recent breakthroughs in electrification, almost 2 Billion people globally still don’t have access to reliable electricity. Servicing this demand from the existing generation portfolio will mean burning more fossil fuels. This will have an adverse effect on climate change and pull us back in our effort to limit the global temperature rise below 2° Celsius.
The answer to this dual problem is to decarbonize the Grid with renewable sources of electricity. However, the Sun doesn’t shine at night and wind may not blow all the time. A logical solution to address the intermittency problem of renewables is an enhanced battery technology, that stores the excessive energy and transmits the same. But there is still a couple of decades for this to develop into an effective system.
There is yet another plausible solution – power cables connecting countries across continents. With the potential to evolve into a giant global grid, this way one country’s sunshine can light up homes in another country directly.
Inter-Connected Global Power Grids
Inter-continental power grid – a network of power cables running across countries, is not a new trade model at all; rather a tried-and-tested one. Similar phenomena have been happening in the world of telecom for decades, with more than thousands of kilometers of fiber optic already installed in the seabed. The time has come for this age-old idea to be the future of cleaner energy.
If we have a closer look at the theoretical feasibility of this power model, the science is simple. Consumption patterns change throughout the day. People consume maximum power during the evening hours, when they return home from work. When it is afternoon in India, it will produce more energy than it can consume. A well-connected sub-sea link from Porbandar, Gujarat to Oman can transmit this excess power to the GCC (Gulf Coordination Committee) countries and all the way to Egypt, where it is still morning and their own solar farms are yet to produce. On the other hand, when it’s evening in India and the power demand is at its peak, it can source green power from the Middle East.
An inter-connected power grid would allow the entire world to benefit from renewable energy for almost the entire day. It will also ensure that deficits in one country can be balanced by surplus in another.
But this is not all. Electricity has become an integral part of our lifestyle. From boosting agricultural, as well as, industrial production, to improved education opportunities, and accelerated trade momentum, such a balanced green power corridor will also have positive impact on socio-economic aspect. The cross-border trade of electricity will lead to improved diplomatic relations between nations.
Let reliable power for all become our tomorrow – not just a rallying cry anymore.