28 March 2012 – Of the ten states that comprise Africa’s newest country, South Sudan, only three of the state capitals, Juba, Malakal and Wau have electricity infrastructure. This takes the form of decentralised generation with a local distribution network.

The impacts of the civil war in that country prior to independence means it has poor infrastructure, and its energy needs are predominantly met by biomass. Only 1% of the country’s population have access to electricity and most of these are in Juba. The country’s total existing generation facilities consist of about 25 MW of thermal capacity.

The government of South Sudan has established the Southern Sudan Electricity Corporation (SSEC) as a subsidiary of the Ministry of Energy and Mining (MEM) and mandated it to be responsible for generation, transmission, distribution and sales of electrical energy to consumers in Juba, Malakal and Wau. It has some 15,000 domestic customers but no industrial or commercial consumers.

However, the country does have hydroelectric potential and over 2,100 MW of this potential at different sites is undergoing feasibility studies.  Some of these prospective hydroelectric plants are Fula 890 MW, Shukoli 235 MW, Lakki 410 MW and Bedden 570 MW. In addition to these large hydroelectric sites, detailed feasibility and design works have been completed for eight small hydroelectric plants ranging from 3.0 to 11 MW.

 As the government plans to develop its energy sector by investing in generation, transmission and distribution infrastructure, it requires a strategy that will support it not only in arranging financial resources but also to develop the human resource for SSEC, emerging distribution utilities and MEM to ensure sustainable management and operation of the sector and policy formulation as required. Consultants have been sought to help achieve these goals.

The country, which has no industrial base, is also looking as one of its options to import some 50 to 100 MW of power from Ethiopia in two or three years, but it will have to find funding to achieve this.