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Environment Centre NT - protecting nature, living sustainably, creating climate for a change

Scoping an Australia – Asia Interconnector to grow regional renewable energy and energy security

The Environment Centre NT is partnering with research, consulting, power distribution and renewable energy organisations in Australia and Indonesia to host a workshop to scope connecting the electricity grids in Northern Australia and Southeast Asia to catalyse the generation and distribution of renewable energy across the region.

Grid integration between Northern Australia and Southeast Asia with an ‘Australia-Asia Interconnector’ offers the tantalising opportunity to stimulate regional renewable energy production, substantially cut energy poverty, and avoid the risks and escalating costs from fossil fuels and nuclear power.

An interconnected regional grid tapping into utility-scale renewable energy is a long-term option in this Asian Century for reducing reliance on fossil fuels and associated pollution, buffering rising energy prices and reducing energy security risks.

Technological advances in high voltage direct current (HVDC) cables and falling renewable energy costs make an Australia-Asia Electricity link a real possibility in the next two decades.

Key Questions that were explored at the workshop:

Business case: is there a business case in the medium term, what’s the likely cost of renewable energy produced, and when would it be cost competitive?

Technical and engineering: is it feasible to transmit power across such long distances and across the Java Trench, can HVDC subsea cables maintain electrical supply under all contingencies, where would the link attach to existing grids?

Renewable energy resources: how much renewable energy could be produced from the different sources across the region, what challenges does intermittency create?

Regulatory and political: Do Southeast Asian nations want to import renewable energy from Australia, what are energy security concerns, what are the co-benefits of regional grid integration?

Workshop documents are available below for download.

Grid interconnection North Aust – SE Asia and renewable energy workshop July 2013 Darwin flyer

Australia-Asia Interconnector workshop report ECNT-CDU Dec2013

Transcript – ABC Radio Darwin re workshop