SIEW Thinktank Roundtable J: Power System Sustainability Starts with Cross-Border Integration

Experts at the SIEW Thinktank Roundtable J shared their insights on how to increase cross-border power system integration. Justin Lee reports.

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Cross-border power system integration holds the key to increasing power system sustainability and helping countries meet the UN Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7).

Speakers at the SIEW Thinktank Roundtable J, hosted by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), exchanged their views on the ongoing efforts to integrate power systems in the Asia Pacific region, most notably the ASEAN Power Grid.

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Dr Tao Jing from A*Star explored the prospect of an interconnected power grid within ASEAN to help the region’s economies shift towards more renewable energy sources. In particular, tapping into hydropower capacities in Laos PDR and Myanmar would help to reduce the reliance on fossil fuels in the region.

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Peerapat Vithayasrichareon, Lead Analyst, System Integration of Renewables, International Energy Agency (IEA), shared that integrating renewables through cross-border power trade in ASEAN will yield significant cost savings through reduced operational costs.

These cost savings could increase further as the number of trade partners increases, highlighting the need for greater cooperation and coordination between ASEAN members to enable cross-border power trade.

For successful integration of power grids, Audrey Zibelman, CEO of Australian Energy Market Operator(AEMO), said that timely and adequate investments in the grid and power infrastructure had to be made. Integration of renewable energy resources would also need to consider the respective source’s variability and the consequent impact on system stability.

Ms Zibelman further noted that in the post COVID-19 world, there will be more investments in infrastructure and grid technologies, providing more opportunities for collaboration between nations.

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