Side Event

Cross Border Power Trade and Future Energy Markets



On June 16, 2020, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) organized a virtual side event for the year’s Asia Clean Energy Forum (ACEF), one of Asia’s leading clean energy events held each June. The virtual side event was focused on the theme “Cross Border Power Trade and Future Energy Markets”. Its purpose was to facilitate discussion and insight sharing on the barriers and opportunities to promote bilateral and multilateral power trade and develop power markets in South East and South Asia. More than 300 energy experts from 33 countries representing USAID; International Energy Agency (IEA); United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP); Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC), Government of India; Indian Energy Exchange Limited (IEX); South Asia Regional Initiative for Energy Integration (SARI/EI) program; Greening the Grid (GTG)-Renewable Integration and Sustainable Energy (RISE) initiative, and other stakeholders from Asia and worldwide joined the discussion.

The tone for discussion was set by Michael Satin, Director, Clean Energy and Environment Office in USAID/India, who in his opening address highlighted the critical role cross-border electricity trade can play to secure reliable, affordable, and clean power for the people of Asia. The webinar commenced with the presentation of three case studies—by Randi Kristiansen (IEA), Rajiv Ratna Panda (SARI/EI), and Anish Mandal (GTG-RISE)—that gave insights on overcoming political, institutional, and technical barriers to power trade and regional power markets in South Each Asia; approaches to increase bilateral and multilateral power trade; and designing of power markets to enable large scale renewable energy (RE) integration.

The insightful presentations set the context for a detailed panel discussion, featuring reputed energy sector stakeholders who deliberated on the lessons learned in South East and South Asia and the path ahead. The eminent panel comprised Dr. S.K. Chatterjee, Chief of Regulatory Affairs, CERC; Matthew Wittenstein, Chief of Section, Energy Connectivity, UN ESCAP; Rajesh Mediratta, Director, IEX; Peerapat Vithayasrichareon, System Integration of Renewables, IEA; and Shubhranshu Patnaik, Senior Advisor, USAID GTG-RISE and Partner, Power & Utilities Consulting, Deloitte India.

The panelists brought to play their vast experience in the power sector as they discussed the imperatives and opportunities for increased bilateral and multilateral power trade in Asia and for developing and harnessing RE. Robust infrastructure, supportive regulatory and institutional mechanisms, and political consensus were recognized as critical enablers for regional power trade. Real-time markets will play a major role in driving multilateral trade by allowing voluntary participation, the discovery of real market prices, and the balancing of renewables intermittencies. The recent introduction of the real-time electricity market by the Government of India was lauded as a major step toward an efficient power market not only for the country but also for South Asia. Speaking about the far-reaching initiative, Dr. Chatterjee (CERC) expressed confidence that the “real-time market will lead to improved efficiency and economy of power generation and distribution companies and help integrate mainstream with renewables.” He also highlighted the need for learning from international experience but developing indigenous market designs that address the unique constraints of a country and the needs and expectations of its stakeholders.

The huge potential cross-border multilateral trade holds for increasing the share of RE was well recognized, as also the role it can play to lower prices and ensure affordable and reliable power and economic benefit for all. Crucially, preparing regional markets for RE would require concerted effort toward the elimination of out-of-market incentives to ensure fair pricing for RE, dispatchability of renewables, and valuing flexibility are some of the key aspects highlighted by Mr. Patnaik.

The webinar ended with a brief address by Scott Bartos, Senior Energy Advisor at USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia, who communicated the need for all stakeholders, including the private sector, to come together, invest in and deploy innovative technology solutions to catalyze Asia’s energy sector and leverage its huge RE resources.

Objectives of the Session

  1. Explore opportunities to address political, institutional and technical barriers to increased bilateral and multilateral power trade.
  2. Raise awareness of how these markets can enhance opportunities for developing VRE and how VRE can facilitate increased power trade in Asia.


Time (Manila) Session/Speakers
20:00 - 20:05 p.m. Welcome Remarks
Michael Satin, Director - Clean Energy and Environment Office (CLEEO), USAID/India
20:05 - 20:15 p.m. Case Study 1: Overcoming barriers to power trade and regional markets in South East Asia
Randi Kristiansen, Economics and Financial Analyst – Clean Electricity, International Energy Agency (IEA)
20:15 - 20:25 p.m. Case Study 2: Cross border electricity trade in South Asia: Transitioning from bilateral to multilateral
trade (Including power markets)

Rajiv Ratna Panda, Head-Technical, SARI/EI, IRADe

20:25 - 20:35 p.m. Case Study 3: Redesigning the Power markets: An enabler to RE Integration and multilateral trade
Anish Mandal, Electricity Markets Lead, USAID’s GTG-RISE Initiative and Director, Deloitte India
20:35 - 21:25 p.m. Moderated Expert Panel Discussion
Michael Satin, Director, Clean Energy and Environment Office, CLEEO, USAID/India (Moderator)

  • Matthew Wittenstein, Chief of Section, Energy Connectivity, ESCAP
  • Peerapat Vithaysarichareon, System Integration of Renewables, IEA
  • S.K. Chatterjee, Chief of Regulatory Affairs, CERC, Government of India
  • Rajesh Mediratta, Director, Indian Energy Exchange (IEX)
  • Shubhranshu Patnaik, Senior Advisor, USAID GTG-RISE Initiative and Partner at Deloitte India
21:25 - 21:30 p.m. Wrap-up and closing remarks by USAID


About the Organizers

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the lead U.S. Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential. USAID is also working to support countries on a path to pursue clean energy growth and resilient, low-carbon development. USAID is sharing world- class knowledge, data and tools to ensure countries can predict, prepare for and adapt to change. USAID also support regional integration and energy cooperation to enhance region and country’s energy security. The USAID’s India mission Clean Energy & Environment office through its Greening the Grid (GTG) is working on supporting integration of variable renewable energy in India by validating technologies and solutions through its central component, Renewable Integration and Sustainable Energy or GTG-RISE initiative. USAID/India is also implementing the South Asia Regional Initiative for Energy Integration (SARI/EI) program aimed at promoting cross-border power trade and regional power markets in South Asia. The GTG-RISE initiative is implemented by Deloitte LLP and SARI/EI by Integrated Research and Action for Development (IRADe).

The USAID Regional Development Mission Asia (RDMA) is working on regional energy cooperation and power trade in SE Asia, as well as promoting investment in renewable energy, through its USAID Clean Power Asia (CPA) program. The CPA program, implemented by Abt Associates, works with Lower Mekong countries and other Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states to encourage power sector investments in environmentally friendly, grid-connected renewable energy sources. The program focuses on incorporating renewable energy into planning, promoting smart incentives, building an enabling environment for renewable energy policies and frameworks and mobilizing finance.

Point of Contact:

Monali Zeya Hazra, USAID/India