Tuesday February 19 2013

Regional states could have joint power projects

By Frederic Musisi & Nicholas Kalungi


Ten African countries are considering having regional electricity sharing as the solution to increased power production, availability and accessibility for both their people and industries.

Kenya, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi, South Sudan, and Uganda, the host of the 17th meeting of the Intergovernmental Committee of Experts (on enhancing energy security and access in Eastern Africa), backed the idea of a joint electricity pool to curb the power shortage, that has crippled sectors in their respective economies.

Speaking at the opening of the symposium in Kampala yesterday, Mr Pedro Antonio, the director of United Nation Economic Commission for Africa-Eastern Africa, said all countries in the regional bloc had the potential to produce a reasonable capacity of energy in terms of geo-thermal, hydro, and other renewable forms.

The challenges
Mr Antonio, however, said implementing individual policies had proved a challenge, which would be only ironed out if they (countries) agreed to integration in the sector. “Pursuing regional integration in the energy sector is the only solution to the discrepancies and variances that are currently frustrating sectors like industrialization,” Mr Pedro noted.

Government okays move
Mr Simon D’juanga, the minister of State for Energy, acknowledged the feasibility of the joint project, which he said government would support. “We currently produce about 810 megawatts, which is not enough for our consumption. We must aim together as countries in the region, a decision fully backed by the government,” he said.

Information presented by the Finance ministry showed that countries in the sub-Saharan region have the least power generation globally of about 99 MW per one million people compared to Asia’s 200 MW. Europe has more than 1000 MW per million people.