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Regional road map on power system connectivity: promoting cross-border electricity connectivity for sustainable development

Regional road map on power system connectivity: promoting cross-border electricity connectivity
for sustainable development

 

Summary and background information

The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) is promoting energy connectivity through regional cooperation. The regional road map on power system connectivity, entitled “Promoting cross-border electricity connectivity for sustainable development”, is intended to provide an agreed reference framework for regional cooperation towards achieving power grid integration over the period 2020 to 2035.

Enhancing regional energy connectivity with a focus on power grids is an important means of promoting the sustainability and security of the region’s energy supply. It can help countries to manage electricity surpluses and deficits in a mutually beneficial way and open up opportunities for integrating the large-scale development of renewables. This not only supports economic growth but also provides member States with greater opportunities to formulate more ambitious emission reduction strategies under the Paris Agreement and to combat air pollution.

The potential for enhanced power grid connectivity and cross-border electricity trade in the Asia-Pacific region is significant. Connecting power grids of adjoining countries and subregions can capitalize on complementarities between countries in terms of energy demand and energy resource availability, particularly with regard to wind, solar and hydro potentials. Achieving power grid connectivity can enhance the availability and affordability of electricity and accelerate the utilization of renewables. It therefore contributes to the decarbonization of the energy sector while advancing Sustainable Development Goal 7 and other Goals.

Vision and principles

The overall objective of the road map is to provide the means for member States to create a pan-Asian interconnected grid that offers a more reliable, affordable and sustainable electricity supply. This would underpin the region’s social and economic development and assist the move to a low-carbon energy system.

The road map reflects an acknowledgement that energy policy is affected by the circumstances of each country and subregion, and discretion is therefore left to each country. The road map is intended as a non-binding reference framework. Careful consideration should be given to the respective circumstances of countries during its implementation.

Many countries in the region are archipelagic, presenting major challenges to power grid integration. However, in these areas, where fuel is often transported to service power needs, connectivity can offer great benefits. It is important to understand these unique issues and to seek the best policies, regulations and business models to address power grid connectivity in these circumstances.

Strategies

The road map proposes nine detailed strategies for regional stakeholders to address and suggests key milestones, time frames and responsible entities for realizing each strategy. The time frames for each strategy are defined as short term (1 to 3 years), medium term (4 to 7 years) and long term (7 to 15 years).

  • Strategy 1: build trust and political consensus for cross-border electricity trade
  • Strategy 2: develop a regional cross-border electricity grid master plan 
  • Strategy 3: develop and implement intergovernmental agreements on energy cooperation and interconnection 
  • Strategy 4: coordinate, harmonize and institutionalize policy and regulatory frameworks 
  • Strategy 5: move towards multilateral power trade and create competitive markets for cross-border electricity 
  • Strategy 6: coordinate cross-border transmission planning and system operation 
  • Strategy 7: mobilize investment in cross-border grid and generation infrastructure 
  • Strategy 8: build capacities and share information, data, lessons learned and best practices 
  • Strategy 9: ensure the coherence of energy connectivity initiatives and the Sustainable Development Goals 

The text of the roadmap summary above is abbreviated, the full approved text is available at https://www.unescap.org/sites/default/d8files/event-documents/CE_2021_4.pdf