Launched in 2019, the Japan-U.S.-Mekong Power Partnership (JUMPP) facilitates clean energy deployment, regional power trade and electrical interconnectivity, and national and regional electricity market development in the Lower Mekong Region of Southeast Asia. Representing nearly 40 percent of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region’s population and approximately 50 percent of ASEAN electricity sector demand growth (2015-2020), the Lower Mekong region’s ability to attract affordable, quality, and clean energy infrastructure is critical to its economic growth and to ASEAN’s energy security, energy transition, and prosperity.

Co-led by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Energy Resources (ENR) and Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, JUMPP provides a wide range of technical assistance to the governments of Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), Vietnam, and Thailand to help the region achieve a more secure and sustainable energy future. In addition to the U.S. Department of State and Foreign Ministry of Japan, JUMPP partners include: energy ministries, electric utilities, and regulators of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Vietnam; U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), as well as seven partners that implement technical assistance and capacity building activities with JUMPP partner governments.

JUMPP supports the goals of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy and Clean EDGE Asia (Enhancing Development and Growth through Energy) and is an initiative of the Mekong-U.S. Strategic Partnership (MUSP), all of which leverage U.S. government resources to strengthen electricity markets and power sector infrastructure integration, investment, and resiliency in order to support economic growth and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.

JUMPP Action Plan and Technical Cooperation

To date, JUMPP has delivered more than 80 technical cooperation projects across three pillars: national and regional electricity market development and investment, clean energy deployment, and regional power trade. With a U.S. contribution of over $30 million since 2019, JUMPP strengthens the four government partners’ technical and regulatory capacities to integrate larger volumes of renewable energy and deploy electric vehicles, advanced meters, and battery energy storage systems (BESS); builds institutional capacity for enhanced cross-border power trade that supports ASEAN-wide electrical interconnectivity goals; and supports power market reforms that enhance market competition and attract clean energy investment in some of the fastest growing electricity markets in the world. Illustrative examples include:

  • Cambodia: Advisory support on renewable energy deployment planning, interconnection standards for renewable energy, solar tariffs, and a technical assessment for battery energy storage integration.
  • Lao PDR: Assistance on managing grid impacts of wind and solar integration, renewable energy resource management, and advisory support to develop an Integrated Energy Master Plan. Ongoing cooperation includes: inspection, testing, and commissioning protocols for wind and solar projects; interconnection requirements for Inverter-Based Resources (e.g. solar PV, wind, BESS); and recommendations to update guidelines for feasibility study and design to accommodate Inverter-Based Resources.
  • Thailand: Advised on a potential Electricity Trading Company (ETC) to support increased peer-to-peer and cross-border power trade; capacity building on Third Party Frameworks (TPA) to open access to the transmission and distribution network; renewable energy integration and digitalization of the power sector; advisory support for utilities to achieve electric vehicle and advanced metering infrastructure deployment goals, as well as assistance on balancing reserve planning. Completed regulatory analysis on Thailand’s draft TPA framework and pricing mechanisms for grid congestion management.
  • Vietnam: Capacity building on battery energy storage, variable renewable energy grid integration, reserve requirements study resulting in more frequent forecasting and operation schedules; advisory support on grid architecture for market and reliability processes to manage renewable curtailment and perform stability modeling; assessment and adoption of technical recommendations for Vietnam’s approach to voltage control and regulation in distribution networks for wind and solar PV resources with a capacity of 1 MW or less; technical assistance on improving power system flexibility; and advisory support on wholesale, retail, and ancillary services market development.
  • Regional: JUMPP partners have completed nearly 40 technical workshops and trained over 550 Mekong officials to build technical and regulatory capacity in Mekong energy ministries, regulatory commissions, and electric utilities on technical, economic, and legal topics through peer-to-peer engagement, webinars, and in-person workshops. This includes advisory support on control center modernization and system planning methods for reliable operation of national power systems with high penetration of renewables; regional power pool development, regulatory roadmaps for enhanced power market integration; advisory support and recommendations for interconnector transmission codes and assessing available transfer capacity to optimize power exchange among the four countries; joint trainings on grid integration of variable renewable energy for enhancing grid stability; power system planning and regulatory tools for distributed generation; peer-to-peer exchanges with U.S. electricity market operators and regulators; and training on leading practices in power purchase agreements and private investment in transmission.

In 2021, JUMPP partners established a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to coordinate ongoing technical cooperation activities and to set priorities for future cooperation. The JUMPP Action Plan is available here and identifies more than 40 new bilateral and regional partnerships for completion by 2025.

Improving opportunities for cross-border power trade will facilitate renewable energy growth while accelerating development of the ASEAN power grid. As countries decide how to scale-up renewable energy across the grid, adequately navigating investment decisions will be necessary to maintain grid reliability and accelerate clean energy deployment. In national power markets, as the electricity landscape evolves, competitive and transparent markets can improve market liquidity, attract private investment, and lower power prices, while enhancing countries’ ability to consider techno-economic opportunities for regional power exchanges in the future.