World Wide Grids of the future

Connecting Africa to Europe


There is a plan to connect Europe, Middle East, and North Africa (EUMENA). Then power will be supplied by solar from the south (Sahara), and wind from the North, (Scandinavia Scotland, Irish sea, etc). 

The nations of the Middle East and North Africa could supply themselves and an export industry from their excess power which could reach an annual volume worth more than 60 billion Euros.

By importing up to 20 percent of its power from the deserts, Europe could save up to 30 euros for each megawatt hour of desert power.

The scheme would satisfy 70% of MENA’s electricity needs and 17% of the electricity needs of the European Union and some neighboring countries


Desert Power 2050

The area needed to supply enough energy for: The World, Europe, and  Germany.

Link across the Nullarbor

There are several grids in Australia. The east coast is linked, including an undersea link to Tasmania, as the NEM, National Electricity Market.

Various experts have suggested linking the WA to the NEM. This would have several advantages. WA is richly endowed with solar, wind and wave energy. It would also allow solar to be supplied to the east and the west before or after the sun.

The losses on long transmission lines is about 3% per 1,000 KM. Sydney Perth would be about 10% loss. 

There  is another suggestion to link the NW to Indonesia and sell solar power as an export.

Linking Australia to Asia China


The Future of Renewables Linked by a Transnational Asian Grid

By Stewart Taggart, Geoffrey James, Member IEEE, ZhaoYang Dong, Senior Member IEEE, and Christopher Russell, Member IEEE

This paper looks at the feasability of connecting Australia, SE Asia, and China.

Wind energy is abundant in China and Mongolia. Solar
energy is abundant in Australia’s interior. Together, they represent Asia’s most plentiful renewable energy resources for which capture technology currently exists.

CSP (Concentrating Solar Power) plants and PV in interior Australia can generate roughly 180 GWh of electricity per year per square kilometer. 

A CSP plant with a mirror field 35 km on a side could have satisfied Australia’s 2008 electricity demand. A mirror field 130 km on a side could have satisfied China’s 2008 electricity demand and a mirror field roughly 173 km on a side could have satisfied Asia’s 2008 electricity demand.

Chinese and U.S. researchers estimate China’s wind resources at more than ten times China’s electricity consumption.
So there is plenty of clean power, it is just a matter of working out how can it be tied together, technically, and commercially.

Take part (say 2,500 km2) of an existing cattle station somewhere near Lake Argyle and cover one third of it with solar panels on tracking arrays. Build a large reservoir upslope at least 300 metres above Lake Argyle, holding at least 1,000 gigalitres of water.

Build a 100 gigawatt power station that uses solar energy to pump water from the lake up to the upper reservoir. The water flows back down the hill through turbines at night, generating power to the grid 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The capital cost of building such a power station, storage and HVDC link and extending it as far as Jakarta is estimated at around US$500 billion. This compares with Indonesia’s current projections that it needs to invest US$1,000 billion in conventional (coal and nuclear) power stations to meet its energy needs over the next 40 years.

The electricity price in Jakarta from this scheme would be around 8 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared with the current 6 cents price (externalities excluded) from coal-fired power in Indonesia.


By Andrew Campbell, Andrew Blakers and Stuart Blanch

The area needed to supply all the power for Australia in the red dot. All the world's power would need the area of the green circle.

Other links

Other suggestions are:

  • NZ to Sydney to supply geothermal and hydro
  • Iceland to UK to supply geothermal and hydro

Planned links

ASEAN states of SE Asia are planning to link their grids.

China is building out HVDC power lines across the country to bring online and distribute new electricity supplies. Construction is planned for more than 30 domestic HVDC links before 2020

Present grids between cou​tries

Six Arabian Gulf nations (Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Oman) have interconnected their electricity grids.
Norway and The Netherlands are linked by the NorNed HVDC cable.
The deepest HVDC cables laid to date have been in
waters 1650 m deep between Sardinia and mainland Italy.

Line losses

Line losses in DC transmission is about 3% per 1,000 KM. 

With AC, the losses are 5-15%.

DC is needed for underwater.



Land lines investment cost are US$308 per megawatt of rated power per kilometer ($/MW/km). 
Based on the Norway Netherlands line, undersea costs about US$1747 per megawatt capacity per kilometer (US$/MW/km).
For the China Australia link, a land-based system would cost about $2.6 trillion. An under sea link would cost  about $8.7 trillion.