Future of organisations that control global energy

The International Solar Alliance (ISA) has gathered with much fanfare and pomp, with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi declaring that it would replace OPEC (Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) in the future.

OPEC is an organisation consisting of 15 member countries that account for more than 40% of the world’s crude oil production. It has a significant influence on the world’s oil prices, and in extension, the energy prices as petroleum account for a large portion of electricity generation and are the lifeblood of the world’s transportation sector.

With solar gaining greater traction and replacing oil as the go-to energy source, the ISA does have the potential to replace OPEC as the primary inter-governmental organisation controlling the world’s energy prices.

About the International Solar Alliance

In 2015, the International Solar Alliance was inaugurated in Paris by the former French President, Francois Hollande, and the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Initially, the alliance’s purpose was to collaborate with countries located within the Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn — an area that receives maximum solar radiation throughout the year. Its scope has now grown. A proposal has been put forward to make all the members of United Nations eligible for ISA membership.

As of 2018, 65 countries have signed the framework agreement, out of which 35 have ratified it. Their primary objectives are to decrease the cost and increase the availability of finance for solar projects, enhance speed and scale of available solar technologies, and focus on research and development of future solar technologies. To achieve this goal, ISA has priorities of assisting members in forming solar policies as well as funding projects, exchange of information, solar resource mapping, industry cooperation among ISA member countries, and designing training programs to up-skill the workforce.

Growth Prospects of Solar Power

Even though solar power technology has been out there for a long time, dating back to the 19th century, it has gained popularity only in recent times. Solar is epochs behind matching the usage of its counterparts. We currently consume 100 times more energy from oil and 90 times more from coal.

In absolute terms, too, the adoption of oil grew 3 times more than that of solar.

Today, solar adoption is gaining on oil and coal. The consumption of solar energy grew at 38% in 2017 as compared to 0.7% of crude oil. By 2050, solar is expected to be one of most common sources of energy. It is projected to have the highest growth curve compared to any other source.

Conclusion

After comparing the projected usage of solar and other energy sources, the potential of solar as one of the world’s primary sources of energy is quite apparent. Although the influence of OPEC on the world’s energy market is likely to decline, it won’t become insignificant. Simultaneously, the International Solar Alliance will grow to become one of the major players in the global energy system. While it is unlikely to replace OPEC in years to come, one thing is for sure, its journey towards exponential growth has just begun.
Written by Badri

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