research / Journal publications

The prospect for an Australian-Asian power grid: A critical appraisal

January 23 2018

Australia is an energy net self-sufficient country rich in energy resources, from fossil-based to renewable energy. Australia, a huge continent with low population density, has witnessed impressive reduction in energy consumption in various sectors of activity in recent years. Currently, coal and natural gas are two of Australia’s major export earners, yet its abundant renewable energy resources such as solar, wind, and tidal are still underutilised. The majority of Asian countries, on the other hand, are in the middle of economic expansion, with increasing energy consumption and lack of energy resources or lack of energy exploration capability becoming a serious challenge. Electricity interconnection linking two or more independent grids within a country or at cross-border or regional levels has found its way into electricity markets worldwide. This concept allows for electricity exchanges that lead to optimised use and sharing of electricity generated from different sources. The interconnection also enables the long distance exploitation of renewable energy which would otherwise be physically impossible.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and other regional groupings in Asia have initiated a number of interconnections to gain economic benefits. Asia’s hunger for energy for its economic development, climate change that has become a global and urgent issue to be solved, and Australia’s abundant renewable energy resources have all prompted increasing interest in a super-grid interconnection linking Australia to Asian grids, the Australian-Asian (Power) Grid (AAG). This paper overviews the existing grid interconnections as well as current initiatives at domestic, sub-regional, and regional levels worldwide, with a particular focus on Asia. The paper concludes with a critical appraisal on the benefits, potential, challenges and issues to be encountered by the AAG initiative.

Read the article online here or download the PDF.

Note: This article was published in Energies, volume 11, issue 1, January 2018, 200-223.

Authors: Edward Halawa, Barbara Hardy Institute, School of Engineering, University of South Australia and Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods, Charles Darwin University; Geoffrey James, Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney; Xunpeng Shi, Principal Research Fellow, Australia-China Relations Institute, University of Technology Sydney; Novieta H. Sari, Department of Communication, Universitas Nasional, Jakarta and School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, Newcastle University; Rabindra Nepal, School of Economics and Finance, Massey University.