State Grid, partners to build 'Asia Super Grid'

The world’s biggest power utility partners with Japan’s Softbank, Korea’s KEPCO and Russia’s ROSSETI to build interconnected power grid across north-east Asia.

State Grid Corporation of China, the world’s biggest power utility, will cooperate with Japan's Softbank Group Corporation, the Korea Electric Power Corporation and Russian grid operator PJSC ROSSETI to build the so-called “Asia Super Grid”, spanning north-east Asia. 

The four companies will start feasibility studies on multinational power grid interconnection in the north-east Asia region and jointly conduct business evaluation studies, according to a statement from Softbank. 

They will then seek support from related governments to realise the plan.

The idea of the “Asia Super Grid”, proposed in 2011 by Softbank chairman and chief executive Masayoshi Son, hopes to encourage efficient utilisation and exchange of renewable energy sources across regions – for instance, powering Japan with wind and solar energy generated from Mongolia. 

On the other hand, Liu Zhenya, chairman of State Grid, is leading non-profit organisation Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organisation to promote a similar, but even larger idea.  

Earlier this year, Liu said the company is looking to build a global ultra-high-voltage network by connecting its grid portfolio to other power grids. The plan may cost $50 trillion to develop by 2050, according to Liu. 

State Grid has been on a shopping spree, buying power assets across overseas markets such as Italy, Brazil and the Philippines. It will participate actively in bidding for power assets in Australia, Liu said.

It is reported that State Grid is among the interested parties in the long-term lease of a 50.4 percent stake in Ausgrid, New South Wales’ largest transmission business. Chinese state-owned utility China Southern Power Grid and Hong Kong-based Cheung Kong Infrastructure are said to be bidding alongside State Grid.