State Grid Corporation of China, Korea’s main utility, one of Japan’s biggest renewables developers and Russia’s grid operator have formally indicated their interest in building a massive interconnected grid across Asia.
The signing of an MoU (memorandum of understanding) for Asia Super Grid took place on 30 March between State Grid, Korean utility KEPCO, Russia’s PJSC ROSSETI and Softbank, the mobile provider-turned renewable energy developer which from Friday joins Japan’s newly deregulated electricity market.
The co-signees are undertaking feasibility studies for a grid in the Northeast Asian region which could allow for electricity, including power sourced from renewables, to be sent across that part of the continent. Japan has had problems over the past couple of years with overproduction of renewable energy, leading to the first curtailments of utility-scale PV under new rules in February. Softbank said in a statement that the four companies will request support from governments and businesses to realise the plan if feasibility can be proven.
State Grid Corporation of China’s chairman Liu Zhenya is also chairman of Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO), with Softbank chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son recently joining as vice-chair. Son is a founder of the Japan Renewable Energy Foundation, which has just rebranded as Renewable Energy Institute. REI has itself also signed up to GEIDCO.
Interconnection was a recurring theme at the recent Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue, an event hosted by Germany’s foreign ministry aimed at sharing international lessons in decarbonization and developing business models for clean energy-based economies.
Focusing on Europe, several speakers said interconnection between countries could help ensure security of supply and affordability of energy, even when generated from renewable sources. Some speakers said that better interconnection between regional grids within the US would have a similar effect.
Haike van der Vegte, senior consultant for new energy technologies at DNV GL recently said that “any way to improve the flexibility of the system is very much appreciated and necessary, including interconnection”.