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
The 2017 World Hydropower Congress opened at the United Nations Conference Center in Addis Ababa on Tuesday 9 May.Type:News postDate:9 May 2017
The 2017 Hydropower Status Report was launched at the opening of the World Hydropower Congress in Addis Ababa on Tuesday 9 May.Type:News postDate:9 May 2017
31.5 GW new hydropower capacity commissioned worldwide in 2016, pumped storage development accelerates
31.5 GW of new hydropower capacity was commissioned in 2016, according to estimates in our new briefing, 2017 Key Trends in Hydropower.Type:Blog postDate:22 March 2017
H.E. Elham Ibrahim is the African Union Commissioner for Energy and Infrastructure. Speaking at the 2015 World Hydropower Congress in Beijing, she discusses the challenges in bringing electricity to people across Africa.Type:Blog postDate:27 February 2017
The Grand Inga project, located in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has the potential to transform Africa’s power sector. The project will be built in a series of stages and when fully completed could be the largest power station in the world wiType:Programme itemDate:10 February 2017