28th Regional Power Trade Coordination Committee Discussed Accelerating Energy Transition in the GMS


The Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) hosted the 28th Regional Power Trade Coordination Committee (RPTCC) on 26-27 August 2021, organized by the Southeast Asia Department Energy Division of the Asian Development Bank (ADB SEEN). The Meeting was co-chaired by Dr. Akhomdeth Vongsay, Director General, Department of Planning and Cooperation, Ministry of Energy and Mines and ADB staff in charge of GMS cooperation and regional cooperation and integration (RCI) focal.

The meeting concluded with the agreement to move forward and further coordinate on five key areas:
(i) Development of a battery energy storage system sharing program under ADB,
(ii) Explore green financing for energy transition,
(iii) Regularly update the power interconnection trade status and interconnection projects,
(iv) Elevate taskforce creation to senior officials’ meeting - working group set-up, and
(v) Select a 3-country pilot project to advance further Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) cooperation in power trade in line with the four-stage development.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Toru Kubo, Director, ADB SEEN, highlighted that the 28th RPTCC meeting came at an important juncture of the five years of GMS cooperation in harmonizing power systems to facilitate regional power trade. He underscored that the RPTCC has made significant progress on regulatory and technical harmonization among the GMS power systems—a step towards advancing GMS power cooperation with the vision for greater integration and resource optimization. He also highlighted the vision for cleaner and greener GMS power cooperation with transition to lower carbon power systems.

Mr. Pradeep Tharakan, GMS-RCI focal person, led the discussion on leveraging GMS power trade cooperation as an enabler for an accelerated energy transition across the region, and introduced ADB’s new regional technical assistance program. Mr. Duy-Thanh Bui, Principal Energy Economist, ADB SEEN, led the discussion on ways to sustain GMS power trade cooperation, which includes regular update of GMS interconnection on the GMS website and conceptualizing a three-country power trade pilot project. The member countries supported and adopted these actions going forward.

A comprehensive assessment of the energy efficient market in the GMS focusing on the results of study for Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Myanmar was provided by Mr. Hyunjung Lee, Senior Energy Economist, ADB SEEN. Ms. Pinsuda Alexander, Economist, ADB Southeast Asia Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division, led the discussion on updating the regional investment framework.

Key development partners provided insights during the 2-day meeting as well. Mr. Matthew Wittenstein, Chief of Section-Energy Connectivity of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) shared UNESCAP’s updates on regional connectivity activities and key takeaways from the various energy projects in Asia. Free UNESCAP online trainings for ASEAN regulators are available online and training for utilities through ACE and Hapua is coming soon. Potential cooperation opportunities were presented by Mr. Rolland Simon, GIZ Country Manager, Thailand, under the CASE program, which supports evidence-based energy transition, aiming to increase political ambition to comply with the Paris Agreement. An extensive presentation on the Energy Transition Partnership including the partnerships’ strengths, trends, and challenges was also made by Ms. Sirpa Jarvenpaa, Director, Southeast Asian Energy Transition Partnership, United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS).

More than 100 participants from the GMS ministries of energy, finance, foreign affairs, investment, and planning, attended the two-day meeting held virtually. Mr. Ho Taing Eng, Secretary of State, and Mr. Srey Da, Deputy Director of Cabinet and Spokesperson, from the Ministry of Planning, Kingdom of Cambodia, also participated in the meeting.

Last Updated: 16 September 2021