China has revealed an ambitious plan to build a $50+ trillion global power grid by 2050, which would be powered by renewable energy.
The new vision of a global power grid, known as the Global Energy Interconnection (GEI), was outlined in a speech by the Chairman of the State Grid Corporation of China.
The concept of a global power grid was widely supported at the Global Energy Interconnection Conference held in Beijing in March, 2016. At the conference, Wu Hongbo, under-secretary-general for economic and social affairs of the United Nations, reiterated in his speech that the UN had always regarded GEI the most pressing task to combat global climate change, promote sustainable development and ultimately, contribute to world peace.
At the conference, the State Grid Corporation of China, Korea Electric Power Corporation, SoftBank Group, and Rosseti (an operator of Russian power grids) all signed a memorandum of understanding on the ‘Joint Promotion of an Interconnected Electric Power Grid Spanning Northeast Asia’.
Global power grid would incorporate Arctic wind farms
As reported by the World Economic Forum, the global power grid would be constructed using an ultra high voltage (UHV) grid. The project not only envisions global power connectivity, but also global power generation.
The grid would connect proposed wind farms in the North Pole, and solar farms built at the equator that transcend national boundaries. According to the World Economic Forum: “It’s exactly what’s needed if such renewable energy sources as wind and energy, which could potentially shoulder the vast majority of the world’s energy generation, will ever become a viable alternative.”
The global power grid would also curb international disputes and narrow regional gaps. Such a project might foster a larger sense of global unity among nations, since power generation and distribution would become a transnational, worldwide undertaking.
The proposed $50tr, when funneled to the development of newly emerging strategic industries, renewable energy, new materials and electric vehicles, will create the needed technology to address power needs in the foreseeable future.
But most importantly, the GEI project focuses on and will benefit the renewable energy sector the most. If renewable energy generation grows at an annual rate of 12.4% throughout the world, then by 2050 renewable energy should increase to 80% of total consumption, which would realise the dream of abundant clean energy and completely supersede fossil fuels.
The roadmap for the GEI project has three general phases. From now to 2020, we need to promote clean energy development, domestic grid interconnection and smart grid construction in various countries. By 2030, large energy bases will be established and grids will be interconnected among countries within the various continents. By 2050, we need to accelerate the development of the aforementioned polar and the equatorial energy bases, concentrating the new energy generation technologies in those areas most favored by nature to produce the requisite output.