South Sudan works to increase electricity supply

South Sudan has the worst electricity access record in the world — standing at just 1 percent of the total population — but the Government of South Sudan is changing that, working to increase the country’s power supply and boost economic development.

South Sudan recently commissioned a 100MW thermal power plant in Juba — the first post-war power project to be installed in Africa’s youngest country. The power plant is expected to increase the current power to 21 percent of the total population by 2021, according to an Ecobank report.

“The total demand according to the 2012 power assessment was 500MW. The construction of this 100MW will close that gap and raise electricity access to 21 percent,” said Minister of Energy and Dams Dhieu Mathok Diing Wol told report.

The plant, which could come online as early as October, according to Xinhua, is owned and operated by private company Ezra. The plant will also drastically reduce South Sudan’s fuel consumption, as the country’s current primary source of electricity is generators, which are run off of heavy fuel. Xinua estimates fuel consumption could reduce by 4 million liters per day.

The Government of South Sudan also commissioned an electricity distribution pole manufacturing plant, which should aid in the country’s industrialization efforts and give a much-needed boost to the country’s transmission infrastructure.

As the country moves forward with its infrastructure improvement plans, Ecobank, in its market report, urges South Sudan to look toward hydropower, as well.

“South Sudan imports fuel for its power plants from Sudan and period of delayed or unpaid bills had resulted in forced shutdown over the years. The high cost of running the liquid petroleum powered plant also means harnessing its hydroelectric potential should be the country’s long-term focus,” according to the report.

South Sudan won its independence from Sudan in 2011 as part of a 2005 agreement to end Africa’s longest-running civil war.