Why energy interconnectivity of West Africa is yet to materialise, by ECOWAS
Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has decried insecurity and lack of funding as some of the challenges hindering progress of grid interconnectivity across the region.
Project Coordinator for West African Power Pool (WAPP), Dr. Mawufemo Modjinou, said the interconnection of power grids would diversify imported sources of energy to the hinterland.
He made the submission at a joint committee meeting themed: “Building the regional energy market for a just energy transition.”
The five-day delocalised gathering, which held in Freetown, Sierra Leone and was organised by ECOWAS Parliament, brought together eight Standing Committees, namely: Committee on Energy and Mines; Agriculture; Environment and Natural Resources; Infrastructure; Industry and Private Sector; Public Accounts; Macroeconomic Policy and Economic Research; Administration; Finance and Budget and Committee on Health.
“This will have a major impact on quality of service provided by utilities,” Modjinou said.
The WAPP Coordinator submitted that the sub-region has a population of 400 million people, and therefore, possessed the potential to generate energy for the exchange market.
“West Africa has one of the highest differentials of electricity costs in the world, but vast geographical distances and limited infrastructure do not permit countries to trade electricity to meet demand at economically efficient prices,” he observed.
On benefits of the project, Modjinou said since its commencement a decade ago, many ECOWAS member-states have been able to link with the transmission infrastructure.
Reacting, Rep. Emmanuel Egoh Ogene from Nigeria said not much impact had been felt since the people live in perpetual darkness and deploy generation sets for energy.
Several other lawmakers collaborated Ogene, as Bida Nouhoume, a parliamentarian from Benin Republic and co-chair, recalled that a lot of money had gone into the project, with little or nothing to show for it.
Earlier, WAPP in their presentation, said: “Judicious implementation of the priority projects listed in the master plan has resulted in interconnection of 13 of the 14 continental ECOWAS countries and work is underway to interconnect the remaining country, Guinea Bissau, by the end of 2023.”