South Sudan’s PPP grid expansion offers Nigeria new cues
While Nigeria continues to contend with regular grid collapse as a result of the parlous power infrastructure, and inability to attract new investments in the energy segment, small neighbouring countries are reviewing their policies to ramp up funds and expand their power grid capacity.
Specifically, South Sudan hopes to complete its Juba power grid by March 2020 that will see it adding 100 megawatts (MW) to its grid having secured a $289 million investment under its public/private partnerships.
The Federal Government and Siemens had last year, signed a Letter of Agreement on the Nigeria Electrification Roadmap, which aims to achieve 25,000MW of electricity in the country by 2025.
According to the Technical and Commercial Proposal dated May 7, 2019, the deal is expected to gulp more than N1.15trillion to execute, while Phase 1 of the project seeks to increase power delivered by additional 2,000MW, significantly reduce Aggregate Technical, Commercial and Collection losses, and achieve improved grid stability and reliability.
The Managing Director of Niger Delta Power Holding Company Ltd., Chiedu Ugbo, had raised concerns about the quality of investment in the power sector, noting that private investment remains the future power financing in Nigeria, in view of the huge capital requirement of sector.
He however, added that the government has a role to play to rest the market with well-coordinated policy.
Meanwhile, Minister of Energy and Dams, Dr. Dhieu Mathok Diing Wol, said: “South Sudan’s Ministry of Energy and Dams is working on the rollout of public private partnerships to bring power to regional cities, based on the success of its partnership with Ezra Power in Juba.
The city grid became operational in 2019 and all homes and businesses will have access to power by March 2020.”
He noted that Ezra has invested $289 million in a thermal and solar power plant that will add 100MW to the grid when fully completed. A new city grid has been constructed alongside the power generation plant.
“Electricity is a basic need and electricity is the engine of development. If you look into the criteria used to start a development, you will see that electricity is at the top. If we aspire to be like other developing countries, we need to help generate electricity,” said the Minister.
The ministry has acknowledged the high tariff price of the new power system and is working on reducing it as a priority. The first 100 kW of power is free, to help low income residents.
Former Undersecretary and new Technical Advisor, Lawrence Loku Moyu, noted that the government had plans to expand the country’s grid networks, “but these network expansions need human resources to develop; we need new engineers, technicians, to bring these expansions to South Sudan.”
Moyu further highlighted that after gaining independence in 2011, South Sudan had not yet obtained feasibility studies done by the Khartoum government on the power sector. Purchasing these studies and implementing their recommendations is a strategic objective for the ministry.
“The new engineers that we are recruiting will have to study this program from the beginning. Getting these studies and implementing their recommendations is now a priority for us,” he concluded.