Exclusive interview with Mr Jasper Oduor, well-respected energy expert in the East-African region, former Executive Secretary of the Eastern Africa Power Pool and currently with Edison Engineers in Kenya. He is also a speaker at the upcoming EAPIC
What project/s in East Africa are you currently involved in that you are most excited about?
Not involved right now but the Ethiopia-Kenya Inter-connector and Kenya-Tanzania-Zambia Inter-connector are going to be the projects that will bring power trade to the region. They have been long coming. Many times we have ended with a very long dark tunnel at the end of the light. But now there is a very bright light at the end of a very short tunnel
What do you regard as the biggest challenge for the power industry in this region?
Issue of the size of the projects that could result in the benefits of scale. The cost of power needs to go down, and the generation component cost seems to be highest. Power Pools provide an opportunity to optimize sharing. The other one is perception of ‘Country Risks’ which diminish with big multi-border projects promoted by power pools. The third one is the push and pull between sovereign interest and regional benefits. The pie is big enough to be shared by the power generators, the power purchasers and power wheelers. What is to be avoided is the tendency to try to have market dominance by any sector of the power industry.
What do you regard as the biggest accomplishments so far?
The greatest achievement so far is the development of the regional power master plan, the regional grid code, regional interconnection standards, market rules, system operations rules, the operationalization of an independent regulatory board and a strategic road-map for the power market development
What is your vision for the industry?
That all within the power industry will wake up fro slumber, kick off the nightmares of the past and have a new dream, focus on the brighter future
How important is the role of the Eastern African Power Pool?
EAPP is very important, but it is often treated as a village boy who is common to all, required by all to do chores for all , but no one wants to give decent clothing, but often blamed for bringing nakedness to the village. The villagers need to take ownership and not depend on outside donors (development partners) for those very important tasks. A case of putting your money where your heart is.
What will be your message at EAPIC in September?
Simply that the governments now need to put more collective effort and focus in the issues of the power pools. Otherwise the inter-connectors shall be built, to be followed by massive regional power black-outs!!!