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.
Our strategy and action
IHA is promoting the benefits and lessons learned from regional energy interconnections.
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.
We continue to explore the opportunities and challenges stemming from the growth of cross border energy grids and share knowledge with our members, partners and stakeholders.
Throughout 2019, we will be publishing a compendium of case studies, produced through collaboration with members and partners, to promote the mutual benefits of and lessons learned from regional interconnections involving hydropower.
IHA members can access the knowledge network in Hydropower Pro, our online member community.
In the online group, network members can connect with each other, exchange experiences and access essential resources, briefings and case studies.
For any questions, please contact IHA analyst David Samuel at firstname.lastname@example.org
Latest associated content
Across Cameroon, there are estimated to be 200 potential sites suitable for small hydropower, which could offer remote communities access to off-grid electricity.Type:Blog postDate:18 October 2017
An application of the Hydropower Sustainability Assessment Protocol at Shardara in Kazakhstan led to a broader regional initiative.Type:Blog postDate:10 October 2017
The International Hydropower Association (IHA) is embarking on an ambitious new strategy and work plan to support socially and environmentally responsible hydropower projects.Type:News postDate:22 September 2017
The 2017 World Hydropower Congress took place on 9–11 May in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.Type:Blog postDate:31 May 2017
The 2017 World Hydropower Congress closed on Thursday 11 May with strong commitments from multiple stakeholders towards delivering better hydro. Here are some of the most notable moments from the final day.Type:Blog postDate:11 May 2017