International power grids and exchanges
In countries with large scale renewable energy capacity addition, variability and intermittency of renewable energy based power generation is a major concern. Often this acts as a barrier for capacity expansion plans at the national level. An important strategy for managing the variability of renewable energy is to spread the electricity supply and demand over large areas by building regional and international grids. Large catchment areas with multiple nodes of concentrated supply and demand, allow flexibility in the system. When power is traded real-time through market exchanges over this large catchment area, it leads to the realisation of the cheapest source of electricity delivering economic benefits for all countries involved. Nordpool and upcoming regional grids in the south-east asian region serve as good examples.
African Clean Energy Corridor
The African Clean Energy Corridor (ACEC) programme was launched by IRENA in 2014 to meet the huge increase in energy demand projected in the African continent while fulfilling climate objectives. The initiative will be taken up in three regions: the Eastern Africa Power Pool (EAPP), the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) and the West Africa Clean Energy Corridor (WACEC). A regional approach to power sector development will enable the trade of least-cost renewable and clean electricity, and an optimal utilisation of renewable energy. ACEC will involve the following steps: 1) zoning and resource assessment to site renewable power plants in areas with high resource potential and suitable transmission routes; 2) national and regional planning to integrate cost-effective renewable power options; 3) enabling frameworks for open markets and reduced financing costs; 4) capacity building to plan, operate, maintain and govern power grids and markets; and 5) public information and awareness outreach.