Region Gears Up for Electricity Sharing

 

Stakeholders in electricity departments from over 10 African countries agreed to push for the implementation of regional electricity master plan.

In a conference organized by the Eastern Africa Power Pool (EAPP), the stakeholders concluded that studies are complete. Only the signatures of politicians are needed to start the construction of the regional lines to improve power supply in the region.
Simon Ngure, the Director of Regulatory Affairs at Kenya Electricity Generating Company, believes that co-generation of power between African countries will woo foreign investments in the sector.

“The interconnections will enable governing institutions to access more funds from donors, and depending on how they perform, will be able to sustain themselves in the long run,” Ngure said in an interview with The New Times.

The Director General of the Energy, Water and Sanitation Authority, Yves Muyange, was voted chairman of EAPP for the crucial two-year period in which implementation of the power lines will be top on the agenda.

Muyange expressed optimism over the regional electricity master plan, citing Rwanda’s progress as an example.
“Most of the interconnections between Rwanda and other countries are either in operation or constructions are already underway,” he remarked.

“The construction of the Tanzania-Rwanda line, which the African Development Bank is ready to fund, will start after completion of the study. Other lines such as, Mbarara- Kigali and DRC-Rwanda lines are also underway”.

The State Minister for Water and Energy Resources, Collete Ruhamya, acknowledged that Africa still faces challenges to meet the MDGs, electricity production being one of the greatest.

“The per capita consumption of electricity is still very low and the lack of modern energy facilities accounts for minimal industrialization,” she said.

“Cooperation between governments through coordination of the regional electricity master plan will improve power supply in our countries.”

A USAID representative, Richard J. Smith, said that the agency is ready to offer a two-year assistance to the plan.

“It will fill gaps in the plan’s environment regulatory frameworks and also facilitate regional energy market systems,” he stated.

Experts expressed the need for sustainability, citing challenges faced by established lines like the Rusizi III and Rusizi IV which are shared between Rwanda, Burundi and DRC, but the facilities are dilapidated.