It has been reported that East African power utilities has agreed upon a regional interconnection project. The project, which will cost over $1 billion, will ensure a secure, reliable supply of electricity to the region. Power sharing amongst the members will also be easier and will allow generation shortfalls to be compensated for.
The project was announced at the "Electricity Interconnection" conference in Uganda, organised by the Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Ltd (UETCL) and Norwegian transmission system operator Statnett SF.
The region is facing severe generation shortfalls due to a prolonged drought, which has had a negative impact on the hydropower in the area.
UETCL Chairman, Frank Katusiime, the UETCL chairman, said "We have reached a stage where we need interconnection. It is important we move quickly by building trust and stop just talking,"
"We need to strengthen the already existing interconnections and at the same time lay a foundation for developing a comprehensive plan to deal with the upcoming challenges in the electricity sector through regional cooperation and interconnection."
Titus Mbathi, Kenya Generation Company chairman agreed and remarked that East Africa was "well endowed" with renewable energy sources. He added "Without solving the energy problems in the region, we shall not be able to transform our economies,"
Tanzania, which generates an excess of 350MW is unable to share it’s excess power due to a lack of interconnection within the region. Decklan Mhaiki, general manager of the Tanzania Electricity Supply company added that an interconnection project would allow sharing of electricity efficiently, reliably and affordably.
David Mwangi, the Kenya Power and Lighting Company chief, remarked that planning should be done regionally when it related to energy issues and that national interest should take second place to regional project dimensions.
"We should facilitate planning and investment in new interconnection and also mitigate future power crisis in the region and realise the electricity generation potential in the region," he said.
Eriya Kategaya, the Ugandan Minister for the East African Community Affairs, concluded by reiterating the commitment of both Uganda and the East African community to regional power interconnection.