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Proposals to interlink the power grids of the countries of North-East Asia stretch back to at least the early 1990s. Since then, multiple shifts in the energy landscape at the global, regional and national levels have taken place, creating a number of drivers for increased cooperation to develop regional power grids. Among the most profound shifts are the rising cost competitiveness of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar PV; cost and efficiency improvements in long-distance transmission technologies; the establishment of relevant regional and intercontinental integration projects; and the pressing need to decarbonize the energy sector, in line with the commitments made under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

This report examines the opportunity to enhance cross-border power grid connectivity in North-East Asia. Based on a comprehensive literature review of nearly 130 studies and contributions by national experts, this report presents policymakers and other stakeholders with an overview of the potential benefits of regional power grid interconnection, with a focus on sustainability. It also describes potential challenges that will need to be addressed to ensure the success of integration efforts and to better link these efforts to the transition to low-carbon power systems. Finally, the report proposes a set of recommendations designed to guide and facilitate cooperation between the Governments of North-East Asia and other stakeholders to advance the process of regional power system integration.

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