26 June 2013 – “The Ethiopia-Kenya interconnector and Kenya-Tanzania-Zambia interconnector are going to be the projects that will bring power trade to the region. They have been long coming”, says Jasper Oduor, former executive secretary of the Eastern Africa Power Pool.
According to Oduor, one of the biggest challenges for the power industry in east Africa is the issue of the size of the projects that could result in the benefits of scale. He explains; “The cost of power needs to go down, and the generation component cost seems to be highest. Power pools provide an opportunity to optimise sharing.”
Another challenge is the perception of country risks, “which diminishes with big multi-border projects promoted by power pools. A third challenge 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.”
He regards the greatest achievements thus far towards power trade in east Africa as being the development of the regional power master plan, the regional grid code, regional interconnection standards, market rules, system operations rules, the operationalisation of an independent regulatory board and a strategic road-map for the power market development.
Oduor regards the role of the Eastern African Power Pool as “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.”
Oduor is one of the headline speakers at the upcoming East African Power Industry Convention (EAPIC) in Nairobi from 10-11 September.