Desertec: Asian Super Grid for Wind Energy and Solar Power

A year after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, the DESERTEC Foundation and the Japan Renewable Energy Foundation (JREF) will start to co-operate on promoting an Asian Super Grid necessary for the expansion of renewable energy in Asia. The aim is to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy to provide secure and sustainable alternatives to fossil and nuclear energies. At the signing of a memorandum of understanding in Tokyo, the two non-profits announced that they will exchange knowledge and know-how, and coordinate their work together to develop suitable framework conditions for the deployment of renewables and to establish transnational cooperation in Greater East Asia.

As a part of its mission, JREF promotes the Asia Super Grid Initiative to facilitate an electricity system based fully on renewable energy in Asia. This initiative envisions the interconnection of the national grids of Japan, Korea, China, Mongolia, and Russia with low-loss High-Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission lines. These transmission lines would enable the delivery of electricity from the region’s most abundant renewable energy sources to its centers of demand whilst simultaneously balancing out the peaks and troughs of fluctuating renewable energy sources over a wider area.

The DESERTEC Foundation sees such a grid as an important step towards the implementation of its DESERTEC Concept in Greater East Asia and has already conducted a feasibility study on potential grid corridors to make best use of the region’s desert sun.

Dr. Thiemo Gropp, Director of the DESERTEC Foundation, states: “The efficient use of the practically inexhaustible energy of the East Asian desert sun in combination with the expansion of renewable energies can sustainably improve living conditions for current and future generations in the region. It also offers Asian countries the chance to take a leading role in the fight against climate change by harnessing the most abundant of all energy sources on earth.”

Dr. Tomas Kåberger, JREF Executive Board Chair, says: “Technologies to harness solar power and wind energy have improved dramatically in the last few years. Combined with modern power transmission technologies, renewable energy can support the long-term economic prosperity of the region. Establishing an Asian Super Grid will be challenging and require a high-level of international collaboration but its benefits make it worth the effort. We are happy to be able to benefit from the experience of DESERTEC in this undertaking.”

The mission of the DESERTEC Foundation is the worldwide implementation of the DESERTEC Concept, a solution to provide climate protection, energy security and development by generating sustainable power from the sites where renewable sources of energy are at their most abundant.

In Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, the non-profit foundation has years of experience in informing society and political decision-makers about the environmental, social, and economic benefits of a transition to renewables. Through projects in Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia, and the DESERTEC University Network, it supports knowledge transfer and educational cooperation. It fosters exchange and cooperation with the private sector for example with the foundation of the industrial initiative Dii GmbH. With around 20 employees as well as regional network coordinators and a global community of supporters, the DESERTEC Foundation is active around the world.

The Japan Renewable Energy Foundation (JREF) was founded in the wake of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident to prevent any further such events happening again. Its mission is to efficiently accelerate deployment of renewable energy in order to reduce costs and boost Japan’s economic development.