Development of Large-Scale Solar Power Projects under Solar Park Concept in Cluster/Group of ISA Member Countries

INTRODUCTION:

Global trends show a clear shift from fossil-fuel based energy generation based on coal, diesel and gas resulting in high GHG emissions towards clean, efficient, environment-friendly renewable energy sources such as hydro, solar and wind due to increasing global warming and climate change concerns. In this energy transition, solar energy in particular would be at the centre stage.

Energy is a key input towards raising the standard of living of citizens of any country which is evident from the correlation between per capita electricity consumption and the Human Development Index. Nearly 1.2 billion people world over are without access to electricity. Energy policies of developing countries should aim to raise per capita energy (and electricity) consumption with focus on energy access and eradication of poverty.

There is a need for large power capacity addition, particularly in developing countries. However, the countries today are largely dependent on fossil fuel-based electricity generation plants to meet their power requirements. The clear way forward is to focus on efficient use of energy and thrust on newer power capacity additions based on Renewable Energy (RE) sources. This will not only address the issues of energy access and global warming, but also increase the energy security of the countries.

Among RE Sources, Solar stands highly promising, particularly for ISA Countries. In recent years, the reduction in cost of Solar PV panels due to increasing market competition has brought down the Solar PV Based power generation cost lower than fossil fuel-based power generation thereby bringing lot of opportunities for Solar PV generation capacity to scale up. Low gestation period for development of solar projects from ‘concept to commissioning’ is another key advantage.

While decentralized deployment of Solar PV, such as Solar Applications for Agriculture Use, Solar Mini Grids and Solar Rooftops, would help in addressing the energy access challenges, there are distinct advantages in going for large scale Solar Projects with the concept of Solar Parks. In fact, in many parts of the world, large scale ground-mounted Solar Projects are being planned /developed.

SOLAR PARK CONCEPT:

The concept of a solar park is to develop a concentrated zone of development of solar power generation projects, by providing to Solar Project developers a land area that is well characterized, properly infra-structured and where the risk of the projects can be minimized as well as the permits and clearances for the execution of projects are pre- arranged. There is a significant prospect for replicating the concept of Solar Parks in ISA Member Countries.

In addition, due to energy resources not evenly distributed among countries, different level of economic growth and trajectory, population and seasonal variations in energy demand, there are economically beneficial opportunities for electricity trade/sharing between countries leading to optimal utilization of generation, transmission and distribution resources. Many successful examples of such electricity cooperation/trade on bi-lateral and multi-lateral basis are US-Canada, US-Mexico, UK-France, NORDPOOL, South African Power Pool (SAPP), West African Power Pool (WAPP), and SAARC countries among others.

PROPOSAL

Article III (2) I of the Framework Agreement provides that a programme may be proposed by any two member countries or group of members, or by the Secretariat. During the visits of ISA Expert team to Mali, Togo and Benin, Mali and Benin proposed implementing solar projects under the Solar Park concept. The relevant extracts of the minutes/Report signed by NFPs of Mali and Togo is appended to this proposal.

ISA Member countries are located across regions of Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Europe. Development of large-scale solar generation capacity in various regions and development of bi-lateral, regional and inter-regional transmission inter-connections has the potential to eventually lead to global inter-connection of solar energy resources and solar energy transfer from one part of the world to other. Thus, it would also help realizing the vision of “One Sun, One World, One Grid” articulated by the Honourable Indian Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi during the First Assembly of ISA during 2nd October to 5th October, 2018, National Capital Region, Delhi, India. Such future developments will likely create significant opportunities for ISA Member countries for solar energy trade/sharing within and across regions. A draft Program Guidelines for Development of Large-Scale Solar Power Projects under Solar Park Concept is included in Annex I below.

NEXT STEPS:

The Committee is invited to provide guidance to the Secretariat on the draft proposal for a new ISA Programme on Large Scale Solar Power projects in ISA Member countries and recommend the proposal for the approval of Second Assembly

ANNEX I

Draft programme guidelines for development of largescale solar projects under solar park concept in cluster/group of member countries+