Single title

Power Interconnection in the ASEAN Region

by Anton Finenko, Prof. Anthony (Tony) David Owen, Jacqueline Tao

Lessons Learnt from International Experience

This paper discusses the development of power interconnection in ASEAN, focusing on the recently announced interconnection concept between Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore (LTMS). As templates, the authors use the evolutionary experience of electricity interconnection and trade in three international markets that have relevance for ASEAN, specifically: the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), European electricity markets, and Nord Pool.

The paper discusses the progress among ASEAN countries in regional energy integration with a particular focus on the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS) interconnection; the first significant project in the ASEAN region that involves several countries sharing power.

  • Driving factors for an integrated electricity market in ASEAN are growing regional electricity demand, diverse distribution of supply sources, and different national socio-economic circumstances. Compared to markets in developing countries, such as Europe and Scandinavia, ASEAN member states need to focus on removing electricity supply constraints that currently restrict their economic growth.
  • One of the main priorities for ASEAN is to develop coordinated planning of generation and transmission infrastructures. Lack of such mechanisms can severely undermine the benefits of market integration, as shown by experience in Southern Africa. Other important steps for market integration are harmonisation of technical and market standards, and a higher degree of empowerment in the regulatory area.
  • Privatisation of state-owned utilities is not required to launch a cross-border competitive market. As is evident from the Southern African Power Pool and the “old” Nord Pool models, electricity markets can reach a fairly advanced stage of integration even in the presence of vertically integrated state-owned monopolies. Nevertheless, separation of generation and transmission is highly recommended in order to make such markets more efficient and transparent.
  • More research is required to understand the actual and potential environmental and socio-economic impacts arising from the damming of large rivers for exports of hydropower. This aspect is missing in virtually all existing regional interconnection studies.


Dr. Peter Hefele