If Alexander Graham Bell were alive today he wouldn’t recognize our telecommunications systems, but if Thomas Edison were alive he would certainly recognize the grid… because the vast majority of the world’s transmission and distribution (T&D) systems use the same design that became mainstream when Edison was still alive. The energy transition is not going to happen fast enough without rapid evolution of T&D systems. Renewable energy development is almost exclusively focused on electricity production and use, and new renewable capacity and output can not be readily brought online unless transmission capacity and efficiency increases rapidly. Climate resilience and cybersecurity are integral to 21st century T&D systems.

T&D systems need to become smarter, more flexible, more resilient to climate change, and more secure against cyber attacks. Multiple “smart grid” technologies are available, including but not limited to high voltage direct current (HVDC) system, high-temperature / low-sag (HTLS) conductors, dynamic line ratings (DLR), on-grid energy storage (ESS, including pumped hydropower), digital control systems for automation and cybersecurity, etc. Policy and regulatory roadblocks to the universe of smart grid options need to be identified and addressed in order to mobilize the financing to accelerate the necessary T&D evolution. “There’s money for the project if there’s a project for the money” and policy-makers and regulatory agencies have to facilitate project identification, development, and implementation.


  1. Understand what’s already proven and available “off the shelf” for smarter T&D systems to facilitate the energy transition.
  2. Identify policy and regulatory roadblocks and solutions.
  3. Identify financing solutions and opportunities for commercial investment and private sector participation in T&D systems in ADB DMCs.


2:00 - 2:05 p.m.

Opening Session

ADB introduction/welcome Jiwan Acharya or ADB SDSC-ENE

2:05 - 2:15 p.m.

Keynote Address / Scene Setting

Sadie Cox, Director, International Strategic Partnerships, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), USA

2:15 - 3:30 p.m.

Technical Solution

Moderator: Derina Man, NREL

  • Automation, Digital Systems, Dynamic Line Ratings, and Cyber Security
    Fei Ding, NREL

  • HTLS Conductors for Climate Resilience and Mitigation in High-voltage Transmission Systems
    Tara Pradhan, Chief, Project Management Directorate, Nepal Electricity Authority

  • 21st Century Storage Technology
    Colin Steley, Stratcon Philippines

  • Urban Microgrids as Entry Points for Automation and Digitization
    Narendra De Silva, General Manager, LECO, Sri Lanka

Panel Discussion / O&A (30 Mins)

3:30 - 4:00 p.m.

Coffee Break

4:00 - 5:25 p.m.

Regulatory, Policy and Financing Solutions

Moderator: Lorraine Akiba, Commissioner Emeritus, Hawaii Public Utilities Commission

  • Policy and Regulatory Issues 1
    Marc Matsuura, Sr. Smart Grid Program Manager, University of Hawaii Natural Energy Institute

  • Policy and regulatory issues 2
    Monalisa Dimalanta, Chairman, Philippines Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), or
    Sharon Montaner, Director, Market Operations Services, Philippines ERC

  • Integrated Planning for RE and Grid Expansion in Sri Lanka
    Damitha Kumarasinghe, Director General (Chief Executive Officer) Public Utilities Commission, Sri Lanka

  • Financing – examples from ADB portfolio with blended / climate change financing; Nepal, Bangladesh
    Lei ZHANG, Project Administration Unit Head, East Asia Department, ADB

  • Financing – new options to crowd in private sector participation, e.g., O&M contracts with incentives for capacity and efficiency improvements.
    Kul Man Ghising,Managing Director, Nepal Electricity Authority

Panel Discussion / O&A (30 Mins)

5:25 - 5:30 p.m.

Closing Remarks



Jiwan Acharya

Jiwan Acharya

Principal Energy Specialist, Asian Development Bank

Sadie Cox

Sadie Cox

Senior Analyst, Markets & Policy Group of the Strategic Energy Analysis Center, NREL

Derina Man

Derina Man

Project Lead, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Lorraine	Akiba

Lorraine Akiba

President/CEO, LHA Ventures

Lei Zhang

Lei Zhang

PAU Head, East Asia Sustainable Infrastructure Division, ADB

About the Organizer

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. It assists its members and partners by providing loans, technical assistance, grants, and equity investments to promote social and economic development.