To reach new markets and customers, clean electricity requires long-distance transmission, often across national boundaries.
Hydropower offers sustainable, affordable energy for local communities. For many projects to become economically viable, however, they must be interconnected to a central grid and markets in neighbouring countries.
Regional interconnections involve joining up separate power systems and building cross-border grid infrastructure. They can result in lower electricity costs, greater flexibility and improved system reliability for trading partners.
Additional benefits include access to clean energy systems and energy storage, but they can be hindered by a lack of institutional capacity when navigating the cost and complexity of a transmission infrastructure project.
Projects can in some cases be burdened by regulatory structures which are not harmonised or coordinated, and disagreements over how benefits are shared and risks are allocated can delay or even halt new developments.
Green energy security
The growth in regional energy networks globally has created new opportunities to widen access to clean electricity and water services.
This is essential for many countries to meet their renewable energy targets, reduce poverty and boost national development.
Hydropower development and regional interconnections often go hand-in-hand. In particular, long distance transmission can provide export routes for remote hydropower sites, while giving distant markets access to a low cost and flexible power supply.