Asian supergrid gains key backers
and business leaders this week backed plans by Japanese telecoms
magnate Masayoshi Son to connect the countries of Northeast Asia via a
regional electricity grid.
Friday, January 31 2014
Mayayoshi Son – the founder of the Japan Renewable Energy Foundation (JREF) – first raised the idea of
connecting Japan, Russia, South Korea, China and Mongolia in a single,
cross-border electricity network in response to the earthquake and
tsunami that triggered the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi
by widespread public opposition to the use of nuclear energy, the
Japanese authorities closed the last of the country’s nuclear power
plants last September. However, it appears increasingly likely that the
government will restart some of the nation’s reactors at some point
nuclear shutdown makes this (Asia super-grid idea) more important,”
Alexander Khoroshavin, governor of Russia’s Sakhalin region, said at a
symposium held in Tokyo by JREF to discuss the development of a road
map for a future regional grid network.
JREF is working with the Desertec Foundation –
which hopes to transmit renewable energy generated in the Sahara Desert
to load centres in Europe – to convince the authorities in the five
nations to jointly build a Northeast Asian electricity network.
With this concept – known as Gobitec
– the organisations hope to improve regional energy security and
expedite the development of renewable resources by transmitting
electricity generated in Mongolia’s Gobi Desert via high-voltage direct
current (HVDC) lines to resource-poor countries such as Japan and South
abundant wind and solar resources are proving to be so much more
efficient and low-cost in some areas that it can justify significant
investments in transmission capacity over thousands of kilometres,” JREF executive chairman Tomas Kåberger told energy-industry professionals and reporters at a briefing in central Tokyo.
"This will open up the large penetration of renewable resources like wind and solar into the electricity systems."
thinks the terawatts of potential PV and wind resources in Mongolia and
northern China’s Gobi Desert region could be harnessed for mutual
economic gain. A developing economy such as Mongolia could benefit from
the jobs created by the rapid rollout of renewables, while richer
economies such as Japan and South Korea are hungry for cheaper
believe that an Asian super-grid could have potential benefits for
regional development,” said Davaadorj Delgertsogt, state secretary of
the Mongolian energy ministry. “Mongolia will support it at the policy
Last June, Clean Energy Asia – a joint venture between Mongolian investment firm Newcom and SB Energy,
the renewables arm of SoftBank – connected a 50MW wind farm to the grid
in Mongolia. Clean Energy president Tsakhia Elbegdorj has said that the
project, which is Mongolia’s only such installation, is the first of a
series of wind farms and PV plants that the company plans to build.
is a clear need to increase renewables, so we must stabilise
electricity supplies and (address) the intermittent nature of such
resources – and this will do that,” said Hiroya Masuda, chairman of the
Japan Policy Council.
“The first step is this power grid. We need to discuss this and make it a reality.”
the moment, regional political uncertainty is the biggest – but perhaps
not insurmountable – obstacle to the development of an Asian
super-grid, said JREF's Kåberger, a former director general of the
Swedish Energy Agency.
benefits of large grids are not something that occur only within
countries... so it's encouraging to hear this commitment from
participants from countries such as Korea and particularly Mongolia.
The political benefits of cooperation are significant – and should
politically be within reach."
Originally published by RECharge News, Baku, Jan. 28, 2014
to Main News