The ASEAN Power Grid (APG) was identified as a “Flagship Programme” within the ASEAN Vision 2020 as early as 1997, and was a key component of the first ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) for the period 1999–2004. Progress in constructing the required connections has lagged behind expectations on account of a range of policy, regulatory and fiscal obstacles that have been well documented by ASEAN officials. The theme adopted by the new APAEC (2016–25) is “Enhancing Energy Connectivity and Market Integration in ASEAN to Achieve Energy Security, Accessibility, Affordability and Sustainability for All”. In order to accelerate the development of an integrated power market, ministers from four nations agreed in September 2014 to establish a pilot project to assess the feasibility of cross-border trade through the Lao PDR–Thailand–Malaysia–Singapore Power Integration Project (LTMS PIP). To date, it is not clear if this pilot project can be launched in the near future as envisaged, and the issue is still being deliberated by policy-makers. The accepted wisdom is that a regional power market can only be created in ASEAN after national power sectors have been liberalised. However, the success of the Southern African Power Pool in adapting the experience of the Nordic Power Pool to local conditions shows that a regional power exchange can be created between power industries that have not been liberalised.

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