17th EAPP Meeting: Uganda sets stage for operationalization of regional power regulator

Uganda's Minister of Energy Hon. Dr Ruth Nankabirwa Sentamu (4th from L) chairing the 17th Council of Ministers Meeting on 21st July 2023 in Kampala.

The Eastern Africa region faces significant challenges in attracting investment, including political instability, weak governance, inadequate regulatory frameworks, and insufficient financing and one of the initiatives aimed at addressing these challenges is the Eastern Africa Power Pool (EAPP).

The development of energy infrastructure requires a long-term vision and strategic planning, involving stakeholders from the public and private sectors, as well as local communities and civil society organizations.

Delegates from the 13 member states of the Eastern Africa Power Pool (EAPP) convened at the Kampala Serena Hotel from 20th – 21st July 2023 and approved the proposed amendments to the Intergovernmental MOU (IGMOU) and the recommendations of the Steering Committee on the standard bilateral trading framework agreement and procedures.

Hon. Dr Ruth Nankabirwa – Uganda’s Minister of Energy and Mineral Development and Chairperson of the EAPP Council of Ministers chaired the session and also considered the proposed constitution of the Independent Regulatory Body (IRB) and host country agreement.

“Member States have their power systems interconnected and prioritize developing interconnection lines. We, therefore, need to work together and make deliberate steps to achieve our long-term objective of power trade in order to make good use of our renewable energy resources.” Said Hon. Nankabirwa.

The 29th EAPP Steering Committee Meeting chaired by Mr. Joshua Karamagi, CFA – CEO, UETCL took place on 20th July and had CEOs and representatives of utilities from the EAPP region, development and technical partners.

The committee deliberated on key issues affecting regional connectivity and the roadmap to the launch of the Eastern Africa power market. The Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Ltd (UETCL) is a member utility virtual of its role to buy, transmit and sell bulk power within Uganda and outside.

The Eastern Africa Power Pool (EAPP) is a regional institution established in 2005 to coordinate cross-border power trade and grid interconnection among nations of the Eastern Africa region. The EAPP currently has thirteen (13) member countries that signed the Inter-Governmental Memorandum of Understanding (IGMOU) and fourteen utilities that signed the Inter-Utility Memorandum of Understanding (IUMOU).

Joshua Karamagi – CEO, UETCL chairing the EAPP 29th Steering Committee meeting in Kampala, Uganda.

The pool comprises the following countries: Burundi, Djibouti, The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Libya. South Sudan and Somalia joined recently and there’s a possibility that Eritrea may join. The EAPP’s General Secretariat is based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia with a mandate to coordinate the development and functioning /operation of the power pool.

Eastern Africa is a region with vast untapped energy resources, including hydro, geothermal, wind, and solar power, which could be harnessed to support economic growth and development.

The primary goal of the EAPP is to establish a regional power market, which will enable member countries to trade electricity with each other, leading to increased access to reliable, affordable, and sustainable electricity. The establishment of the regional power market will also provide opportunities for member countries to develop their energy resources and export excess power to neighboring countries.

Over the past decade, the EAPP has made significant progress toward achieving its goals. The most notable achievements include the development of interconnectors and transmission lines, which have enabled member countries to exchange electricity with each other.

For example, the Ethiopia-Kenya transmission line, which was completed in 2019, has a capacity of 2,000 MW and has enabled Ethiopia to export excess power to Kenya.

The EAPP has also made progress in the harmonization of regulatory frameworks spearheaded by the Independent Regulatory Board (IRB), which has facilitated cross-border electricity trade.

In addition, the EAPP has been promoting renewable energy, including the development of geothermal, hydro, wind, and solar power projects.

The 18th EAPP Council of Ministers meeting is scheduled to take place in February 2024 in Nakuru, Kenya which will work towards the operationalization of the EAPP with all trade frameworks in place.

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