Transmission Upgrades are Integral to Asia's Clean Energy Transition

Mar 16, 2022 3:00 PM ET

Wind and solar may be the generation staples of our clean energy future, but they cannot exist successfully without flexible transmission infrastructure.

As countries around the world continue to develop their clean energy landscapes, weaving together a complex mixture of wind, solar, hydropower and clean-burning fuels, it imperative they plan ahead for the upgrading and development of transmission infrastructure to support this new generation mix, explains a recent article in Power Insider Magazine, which draws on expertise from Black & Veatch’s 2022 Asia Electric Report.

Much quicker to install than coal, and less expensive to operate, solar has become a popular choice in Asia’s clean energy transition. Although many nations in the region have built out significant capacity — and are generating significant energy — several have seen their generated energy go to waste due to lack of adequate transmission infrastructure. Power Insider Magazine gives Vietnam as an example, where in recent years, some solar projects had to dump 80 percent of their generated electricity as the power grid failed to balance peak supply and peak demand.

The article goes on to explain that Asia’s electric industry feels the pressure of this obstacle. According to Black & Veatch’s report, which surveyed Asia’s electric industry leaders and stakeholders, over a third of respondents said integrating renewable energy onto the grid is one of the most challenging issues they face, while over 30 percent consider the lack of energy storage and reliable transmission networks as threats to providing reliable service.

Asia’s power industry faces this challenge, they will need to create a change in mindset across the region to prioritize transmission upgrades and grid infrastructure development.

“There is a clear need to increase awareness among governments, investors and other public stakeholders around the role of transmission and grid management on improving the effectiveness of renewable integration and achieving a successful energy transition,” said Narsingh Chaudhary, executive vice president and managing director of Black & Veatch Asia Pacific, in Black & Veatch’s 2022 Asia Electric Report.