A new asian super-powered grid: Japan proposed it, and China likes ..

Not all the big news during the last two weeks has been about space. There’s been another development, one apparently just starting, that probably has a few jaws on the floor in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Canberra, New Delhi, and a few other places. In fact, when Mr. J.H. shared this article, I had to read it a couple of times to make sure I wasn’t seeing things.:

Asian “super grid” the first step towards a global, interconnected, renewable energy grid

The essence of the idea is nothing less than a globally interconnected energy grid:

Clean, renewable energy will soon be cheaper than traditional polluting sources – but there’s still a big problem. It tends to get generated in inconvenient places, at inconvenient times that don’t necessarily match up with where it’s needed.

It’s simple enough; whenever there’s a big power load somewhere, there’s somewhere else in the world where that demand matches up with a generation spike. When it’s noon in the Gobi desert, and solar generation is at its peak, it’s dinner time in the UK and everyone’s boiling kettles.

The first step for GEIDCO is to build a connected Asia Super Grid that could bring the theoretically huge renewable energy generation capabilities of North China’s Gobi desert as far east as Japan.
(Emphasis added)

And there you have the essence of why my jaw was on the floor: a Chinese-Japanese integrated power grid, especially when the two counties have…well, a “history” in a little fracas called World War Two. And of course, the geopolitical history is hinted at here:

The first step for GEIDCO is to build a connected Asia Super Grid that could bring the theoretically huge renewable energy generation capabilities of North China’s Gobi desert as far east as Japan.

The entire idea is contingent on ultra high voltage power transmission lines, thousands of miles operating at more than 1,000 kilovolts AC/800 kilovolts DC. High voltages reduce losses over long distances, and both Russia and Japan already have hundreds (in Russia’s case thousands) of miles of ultra high voltage lines up and running. These pale in comparison to China’s infrastructure; since 2009 China has built nearly 10,000 miles of UHV power lines, with about the same again to come online in the next two years.

The larger GEIDCO’s interconnected web of renewable energy becomes, the more stable the supply is, because it’s less dependent on individual sources, so moving toward a global energy network that shares power from Greenland to South Africa, Australia to Switzerland is the ultimate goal.

But now there’s more information about all of this, in this article shared by Mr. P.K.:


In the latter article you’ll note that Russia, South Korea, China and Japan have already signed a memorandum of understanding to create just such a grid:

Entrepreneurs in China, South Korea, Russia, and Japan have signed a Memorandum of Understanding that seeks to create the Asia Super Grid. It will transmit electrical power from renewable sources from areas of the world that are best able to produce it to consumers in other parts of the world. The idea is dependent on development of an ultra-high voltage grid operating at more than 1,000 kilovolts AC and 800 kilovolts DC over thousands of kilometers. It envisions interconnecting grids across regions, nations, and even continents with a capacity of over 10 gigawatts.

But notice also that the “brains” behind this effort are not just the Chinese, but a Japanese businessman:

The concept is the result of an idea by Masayoshi Son, founder and head of the telecom and Internet giant SoftBank Group. After the devastation at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant following the 2011 Tohoku earthquake, Son was so shocked by events that he established the Renewable Energy Institute soon aftewards to help develop and promote renewable energy.

“I was a total layman (in renewable energy) at the time of the earthquake,” Son told an audience attending in Tokyo last Friday. But perhaps his lack of technical knowledge is what allowed him to conceive of the Asia Super Grid. His idea was to tap the wind and solar energy power available in the Gobi Desert region of China, estimated to be equivalent to thousands of nuclear reactors. “People said it was crazy, too grand a scheme…politically impossible,” he added.

But soon, he had attracted interest from Korea Electric Power Company and the State Grid Corporation of China. Soon Russian power company PSJC Rosseti came on board as well. The next step in the process was the establishment of the nonprofit Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization in Beijing this past March. GEIDCO is led by Liu Zhenya, former chairman of State Grid. Members include the four Asia Super Grid signatories, as well as utilities, universities, and equipment manufacturers from 14 countries.

Now, I don’t know about you, but this was another jaw-dropper, again, because historically, there’s no love lost between Korea, China, and Japan, because of the Japanese occupation of the former, and invasion of China, and then, subsequently, the Chinese invasion of Korea. Getting these countries to agree on anything as sweeping as integrated power grids, even at just an “entrepreneurial” level, is huge. But in Asia, were commerce goes, politics usually follows, Japanese emperors, or Chinese or South Korean dictators notwithstanding. Notably the Japanese role in this occurs after the Fukushima-Daichi disaster, a disaster which can only have been looked at and studied closely in China and South Korea, with their own heavy reliance on nuclear power.

Looking deeper, however, this is another sign of how serious the Chinese are with their huge commercial “silk road” project, for an integrated power grid system can only further the aims of that project. Japan and Korea’s involvement here signals that these two Asian technological powerhouses could conceivably be hoping to participate in the “solar” aspects of such a grid: recall only that Japanese plan from a couple of years ago to turn the entire Moon into a solar collection power plant, a scheme quickly denounced by the Chinese as but an attempt to create a Japanese “death star” on the Moon. Here, however, I suspect both Korea and Japan are hoping to become not only customersi to such a renewable power energy grid, but suppliers to it as well.

And to complete this high octane speculation, I suspect this means that Seoul and Tokyo realize that they have to find some way to enter that vast silk road project for the integration of the Eur-Asian landmass. So how will the geopolitical aspects of this grid be managed? Look for some announcement, probably coming from Moscow, Beijing, or Tokyo, proposing a multi-power board coordinating it all, ultimately to encompass the European powers participating in it as well. It will be a form of “electrical multilateralism” on parade, and notably, by-passing the United States altogether.

For now this is a story, a “memorandum of understanding,” but this is, nevertheless, one to watch, for its geopolitical consequences are literally earth-changing.

See you on the flip side…

(Source: gizadeathstar.com; http://tinyurl.com/zcw2fgs)

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