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ASEAN Member States Dive Into ASEAN Power Grid MoU Discussions with Partner Support

16 December 2023

The ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) has held the ASEAN Power Grid Meeting Series in Jakarta, Indonesia, from 28 November to 1 December 2023. The meeting gathered key energy stakeholders, experts, and representatives from ASEAN Member States (AMS) and development partners to foster discussions, steering the future trajectory of the ASEAN Power Grid (APG) implementation and advancing data-sharing initiatives to spur regional power trading across the region. 

Day 1: 28 November 2023 – APG Stakeholders Coordination Meeting 

The series commenced with a coordination meeting, focusing on advancing APG milestones that align with the ASEAN Interconnection Master Plan (AIMS) III findings. Dr. Nuki Agya Utama, Executive Director of ACE, welcomed participants and highlighted the critical role of APG in regional energy transition. He underscored the challenges and opportunities outlined in AIMS III, emphasising the need for collaboration and open discussions for turning the APG plan into reality.  

The day featured panel discussions on technical, regulatory, financing, political, and governance aspects to accelerate APG. Notable organisations participated alongside representatives from ASEAN Member States (AMS). H.E. Satvinder Singh, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Economic Community, also presented among the AMS and shared his insights on the ASEAN Power Grid. 

H.E. Satvinder Singh emphasised the heightened sense of urgency at the recent summit, where 10 leaders endorsed a declaration to have the ASEAN Power Grid fully operational by 2045. He highlighted the proximity of this target, underscoring the need for consistent upgrades and high-impact improvements on an annual basis. He stressed that the urgency is not about being the best but remaining relevant in decarbonised commitments to the world and member states. At the regional level, commitments have been made to achieve a decarbonised state, with the energy sector playing a pivotal role, representing half of the decarbonisation journey.  

The workshop began with a panel discussion moderated by Nadhilah Shani, Senior Officer of PFS Department at ACE, featuring Iman Faskayana as the Heads of ASEAN Power Utilities/Authorities (HAPUA) Secretary in Charge, Houmphanh Vongphachanh, as the ASEAN Energy Regulators’ Network (AERN) Chair, Grayson Heffner as the Director of Utility Modernization & Power Trade of USAID Smart Power Program (SPP), and Sascha Oppowa as the Project Director of Clean, Safe, and Affordable Energy for Southeast Asia (CASE). The panel addressed critical challenges and opportunities in advancing APG milestones. Discussions focused on the technical, regulatory, and ground implementation perspectives, drawing on decades of cooperation on APG. HAPUA provided updates and milestones achieved under APG, while the discussion explored the need for enhanced cross-coordination among utilities, regulators, and policymakers. 

Following this session, Beni Suryadi, Manager of PFS Department at ACE, moderated a panel discussion with Nozomu Ono of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Hyunjung Lee of Asian Development Bank (ADB), Brent Harrison of United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) and Marlon Apanada of Asia Clean Energy Coalition (ACEC). The session addressed financing needs, challenges in financing transmission infrastructure projects, and initiatives for advancing APG. Panellists shared their experiences and insights on financing options, the role of the private sector, and the growing demand for renewable energy. 

In the next session moderated by Matthew Wittenstein of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), the panel featured Saw Si Thu Hlaing as the APGCC Chair, Dr. Yanfei Li of the Economic Research Institute of ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), Dimas Fauzi of the Energy Transition Partnership (ETP), and Marie Gail de Sagon of the ASEAN Secretariat, underscoring the critical role of effective governance and political collaboration in advancing the APG. The discussion included a two-phase approach for an integrated market, a focus on aligning government platforms with market realities, and proposals for a renewed APG MoU. 

Day 2: 29 November 2023 – APG MoU Renewal FGD with External Partners 

The second day featured remarks from Saw Si Thu Hlaing, ASEAN Power Grid Consultative Committee (APGCC) Chair, and Madam Luningning Baltazar, APGCC Vice Chair. They emphasised the significance of the ASEAN Power Grid (APG) as one of the programme areas under the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) Phase II: 2021-2025. Followed by Dr Nuki Agya Utama, Executive Director of ACE, expressing hope for valuable insights and recommendations gathered from partners and ASEAN Member States during the Focus Group Discussions (FGD) and meetings.  

The objectives of the Focus Group Discussion were outlined as obtaining input and insights for APG Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) renewal and discussing APG projects and milestones. This collaborative approach involving ASEAN Member States, donors, and external partners aimed to gather valuable insights crucial for shaping the new APG MoU.  

The APG is one of the key strategic regional infrastructure projects under the ASEAN Vision and the ASEAN Economic Community towards regional connectivity and market integration in the region. The APG MOU was signed in 2007 and taken into force in 2009, with 15 years of validity until March 2024. The AMS has agreed to extend the current MOU until 2025 while working on the successor agreement.  

The meeting highlights the significance of the 41st ASEAN Ministers of Energy Meeting (AMEM) in advancing the development of the ASEAN Power Grid (APG) and multilateral power trade. It also involves discussion on AIMS III Phase 3, including the renewal of the APG Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a focus on addressing challenges and ensuring relevance to the current implementation context. 

Furthermore, Rizky Aditya Putra, Senior Officer of APAEC at ACE, closed the session with a presentation of actionable steps, benefits of multilateral power trading, and recommendations for the agreement, emphasising flexibility, a multi-phased approach, and the pursuit of decarbonisation and net-zero aspirations. 

Day 3: 30 November 2023 – Data Sharing Training for Accelerating Regional Power Trading under APG 

The third day began with remarks from Beni Suryadi, Manager of PFS Department at ACE. He addressed the critical aspect of data sharing within the context of APG development, emphasising its role in laying the foundation for the power sector’s objective development.  

Beni also outlined the significance of data in a non-transparent power sector, stating that access to data is vital for fostering equal opportunities and preventing a scenario where vertically integrated power utilities control the sector. He stressed that data sharing is essential for making discussions on power sector development more efficient, fact-based, and conducive to decision-making. 

The Data-Sharing Training, with support from UN-ESCAP, aimed to establish the groundwork for data sharing to enhance both the developmental and operational phases of the APG. The objective of the APG is to facilitate cross-border power trade among the ASEAN Member States (AMS) as well as to secure agreements in these key areas to develop a robust data-sharing platform that is essential for the success of the APG and the broader integration of the regional energy landscape. 

The training sessions by Kristian Bjoerklund, covered diverse topics, including insights from the Lao PDR-Thailand-Malaysia-Singapore Power Integration Project (LTMS-PIP) presented by Dr Titiporn Sangpetch of EGAT and Zulfahmi bin Zulhasni of Tenaga Nasional Berhard, discussions on the different stages of Multilateral Power Trade (MPT), governance in data sharing, and a breakout session among the AMS delegates. As a continuation of the presented topics, the breakout session gathered delegates from different countries to discuss the challenges, requirements, and the way forward to establish a data-sharing platform in ASEAN. 

These sessions provided valuable perspectives on regulatory roles, historical data gathering, and key points and challenges in data sharing. The overall goal is to establish agreements on roles, responsibilities, data scope, security classifications, and procedures for data sharing, paving the way for a cohesive ASEAN platform for data.  

Day 4: 1 December 2023 – APG MoU Renewal FGD with ASEAN Stakeholders 

The final day featured a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) on the APG MoU. The session aimed to acknowledge agreements among the ASEAN Member States (AMS) regarding APG development and address challenges outlined during the 41st ASEAN Ministers of Energy Meeting (AMEM-41).  

Remarks were featured from Saw Si Thu Hlaing, APGCC Chair, and Madam Luningning Baltazar, the APGCC Vice Chair. Followed by Dr Nuki Agya Utama, Executive Director of ACE.  

The AIMS III Phase 3, focusing on creating a multilateral power trade market in the region, necessitated the establishment of an MoU to provide clear arrangements within the AMS and its APG-related bodies. The renewal of the MoU is crucial to ensuring its relevance to the current situation of the implementation.  

The meeting noted the important role of donors’ and partners’ input and feedback from the last four (4) days as indispensable elements in crafting a coherent and explicit agreement for the implementation of the ASEAN Power Grid (APG). Discussions among member states covered institutional arrangements, regional regulatory frameworks, financing mechanisms, transparent data-sharing frameworks, and the integration of APG into domestic policies. 

Rizky Aditya Putra, Senior Officer of APAEC at ACE, closed the session with a presentation of key takeaways, emphasising actionable steps, benefits of multilateral power trading, and recommendations for the agreement.   

The four-day APG Meeting Series were hosted by Rinda Rufaidah, Communications Specialist at ACE and Marcel Nicky Arianto, Research Analyst of PFS Department at ACE.