An interconnected ASEAN Power Grid: report

Wednesday, 17 April, 2024

An interconnected ASEAN Power Grid: report

A new report from the international assurance provider DNV has forecast that decarbonising the energy supply across the member states of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) could result in a reduction of US$800 billion in costs through comprehensive regional collaboration encompassing power interconnectors, hydrogen networks and energy storage infrastructure.

The ASEAN member states have a shared ambition to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Alongside this vision, there is a longstanding goal to establish an ASEAN Power Grid, aimed at meeting the region’s burgeoning energy needs while bolstering energy security. This grid could be used to support decarbonisation efforts by transporting clean energy from countries with excess renewable power to countries with shortages. However, most decarbonisation efforts to date remain confined to individual nations.

In its white paper, DNV models three scenarios for a decarbonised ASEAN power sector by 2050.

In one (‘Individual Approach’), countries try to fully decarbonise alone using their own separate resources. In another (‘Moderate Interconnection’), there are several cross-border power interconnectors but with limited transmission capacity and no hydrogen network. The third DNV scenario (‘Regional Cooperation’) envisages full, unconstrained resource-sharing between countries, involving power interconnectors and hydrogen networks.

According to the study, the primary advantage of Regional Cooperation is that it minimises the necessary levels of renewable generation and energy storage to attain net zero, thanks to the sharing of resources with regions abundant in renewable potential.

The paper concludes that such collaborative efforts can yield substantial cost savings, optimise material resource utilisation and reduce the land footprint required for renewable energy development.

Drawing on its findings and on discussions with stakeholders, the study makes concrete recommendations on how technical, economic and policy hurdles to decarbonisation can be resolved in achievable chunks in the short, medium and long terms.

“Decarbonisation is a global challenge and ASEAN countries should not address this individually. With increased cooperation and resource sharing we can increase the speed of the energy transition while reducing the cost to consumers and the environment,” said Mats de Ronde, Team Lead, Energy Markets & Strategy APAC, Energy Systems at DNV.

While Regional Cooperation yields the most benefits, Moderate Interconnection can be a useful stepping stone, according to Brice Le Gallo, Vice President and Regional Director APAC, Energy Systems at DNV.

“A key finding is that Moderate Interconnection offers substantial cost savings and requires limited interconnectors, meaning less resources and investment. This can be seen as a moderate step towards decarbonisation as key stakeholders recognise the benefits of cross-border interconnectors,” Le Gallo said.

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