Regional grid experts work on African power pool strategies

By Henry Mwangonde , The Guardian
Published at 10:52 AM May 14 2024
Photo: Ere Sonneveld on Unsplash

COORDINATING officials from the Eastern Africa Power Pool (EAPP) and the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP) convened in a three day workshop in Dar es Salaam yesterday to set out a roadmap for establishing the African electricity market.

Abubakari Issa, the Tanzania Electric Supply Co. (TANESCO) acting managing director, said that the workshop brings together experts from 13 countries, working on a legal framework to harmonise regulations enabling national power utilities to link up in the wider power pool.

In his opening remarks, the CEO said that the flagship project for the EAPP was first bilateral, liking Tanzania and Kenya which has been completed, noting that the wider project will benefit Tanzania as it will have the capacity to buy electricity from other countries, with other countries also benefitting from collaborating via this arrangement.

“The plan is for Africa to have one grid by 2040, enabling all the countries to have reliable electricity,” he said, noting that Tanzania was already connected with southern African countries as well as East Africa.

Creating one power -pool and a common market will greatly contribute to the growth of African economies, he said, affirming that growth in every country is influenced by reliable energy flows.

Tanzania was already implementing plans to ensure power reaches every corner of the country, he stated, while Crispen Zana, principal energy advisor at the African Union Commission, said that most African countries face energy challenges.

Upwards of 600 million people have no access to electricity at the moment, he said, citing the AU target as ensuring that by 2040 all countries have reliable electricity.

“We need not to look at the results of today’s meetings but at the whole process, let’s say 10 years from now and we look at the outcomes of the connections that we are establishing now,” he remarked.

Many countries are lagging behind because they have challenges with power and the AU was already drafting regulations to ensure operationalization of the plan, the advisor indicated.

James Wahogo, the EAPP secretary general, said that plans for connecting electricity all over Africa will help each country to access electricity at lower prices when it is in short supply.

The process will also help deliver electricity to the general public not yet connected to grids, he said.

"We are currently preparing recommendations for legal provisions where electricity companies like TANESCO would follow so that the power linkup is beneficial “and no one can do something that could cause problems for others," he added.