In East Africa, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has issued € 2million ($2,184,730) in funding for the implementation of a regional energy project in Rwanda, carried under the Nile Basin Equatorial Subsidiary Action Programme (NELSAP), a subsidiary of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI).
The funding will support the project’s two consultancy studies, namely, the power network analysis and the regional guidelines studies.
Improving electricity access
NELSAP regional coordinator, Eng. Elicad Elly Nyabeeya, noted that the funds will enhance the project to fulfil its objective of improving electricity access in NBI countries through increased cross-border sharing of energy.
“The project is almost complete and we expect the first commissioning of interconnector lines to start next month through 2016.
“This funding will support critical power studies to determine the network behaviour of the integrated grid system and regional guideline studies to operate and manage a network spanning over five countries,” he said.
According to the NBI executive director, John Rao Nyaoro, the AfDB funds will enable for the implementation of the project, contributing to more reliable and affordable power supply in the Nile basin region.
“By 2020, the implementation of electric grids by NBI will avail 8,500MW through new regional lines and at least 167.5MW through new generation capacity that could benefit 22 million people through low cost power generation as well as contribute to poverty alleviation in the region,” Nyaora said.
Boosting the economy
Nyaora gave an update on the on-going construction of interconnected electric grids – comprising six interconnectors that will be covering Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda.
On completion, the project is expected to deliver 946km of 220 – 400kV transmission lines and 17 substations in five countries.
“The total cost of this project is $415 million from development partners. Our partners include AfDB, Government of Netherlands, Republic of Germany and the European Union. Once it’s complete, the project will have huge economic benefits for the entire East African region. Countries will be able to purchase low cost surplus power from other countries to their national customers,” he concluded.
AfDB emphasises commitment
An AfDB representative, Makonnen Negatu reassured the bank’s commitment for the support of energy projects at both the national and regional level, echoing the importance of undertaking critical studies for energy projects and identifying bankable energy projects.
“We have experienced delays on this project but I think this study will be a game-changer if we deliver on time.
“We need to improve our readiness, design of the project and quality of work. With resources, we shouldn’t have any delays. We promise our commitment to supporting more energy projects,” he said.
The funds were mobilised through the European Union Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund (EU-AITF).