New initiative to help nations grid-integrate clean energy

Solar wind grid integration

Developing and middle-income countries of the world will soon have a source for technical assistance to better integrate wind and solar energy projects with their grids.

Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) is to work with Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP) of World Bank toward creating such a system to support countries.  It is to be called ESMAP Variable Renewable Energy Integration Program.

In recent times, more than 140 countries have set renewable energy targets. Of these, over 100 countries have adopted policies to promote the use of renewables.

With substantial decrease in input costs, clean energy is becoming cost-competitive with conventional energy plants.

Since 2011, more than half the net capacity addition in the global power sector has come from new renewable energy deployments, World Bank has reported in a statement.

The development of renewable energy sources calls for the modernization of electricity grids alongside significant changes in policies and operational practices. Most countries face huge technological barriers before making the transition to renewables-friendly grids.

The proposed CEM-World Bank/ESMAP initiative will work to bridge the gap and help the countries “develop capacity for long-term grid planning, market design, renewable energy pricing, development of rules of access to electricity grids, and strengthening of the electricity dispatch and transport infrastructure”.

Countries looking to benefit from the initiative will be provided access to technical experts, knowledge and resources through CEM’s 21st Century Power Partnership (21CPP) and Clean Energy Solutions Center. The initiative will help countries increase their capacity for longer-term policy and investment planning, the statement adds.

According to Anita Marangoly George, the senior director of the energy and extractives global practice of World Bank, “Technical assistance is critical for developing the policies, targeted investments and infrastructure that make the transition to renewable-friendly grids possible.

“The World Bank and the Clean Energy Ministerial can bring together technical expertise, country engagement and financing to help facilitate this transition.”

”Accelerating clean energy deployment while maintaining reliability and affordability is an area of significant research and innovation in the United States and other countries around the world,” Jonathan Elkind, Principal Assistant Secretary for International Affairs at the US Department of Energy, said. “Through this partnership we can directly apply this knowledge to help other countries more effectively expand their share of renewables.”

This collaboration will expand the work of 21CPP on grid integration already underway through multi-year technical assistance programs in India, Mexico, and South Africa.

The ESMAP initiative, although still in its early stages, is already evaluating proposals for support in Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Honduras, Haiti, Morocco, Ukraine, India, Philippines, Seychelles, South Africa and Vietnam.

Ajith Kumar S