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.
Join the network
IHA’s Regional Interconnections Knowledge Network supports member organisations - including integrated utilities, independent asset owners and contractors - with interests in regional electricity networks spanning Africa, Asia, North America, South and Central America, Europe and the Pacific.
If you are an IHA member, you can join our Regional Interconnections Knowledge Network.
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 email@example.com
Latest associated content
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
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Connecting the hydropower resource, especially large hydropower projects, to major load centres can be challenging, particularly where the load centre is located a significant distance away from the generation source.Type:Programme itemDate:19 January 2017
Driven by the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) and the African Union’s Agenda 2063, electricity infrastructure, transmission, interconnections and hydropower are simultaneously undergoing considerable development throughouType:Programme itemDate:19 January 2017