Hydropower a Top Solution for South Sudan’s Electricity Expansion

In a bid to increase electricity access in South Sudan, State company South Sudan Electricity Corporation plans to develop a 120 MW hydropower plant and to roll out planned regional interconnection transmission line projects.

South Sudan hosted a webinar organized by Africa Oil and Power and the African Energy Chamber on July 27, under the theme ‘South Sudan: Preserving Economic Progress in the Face of COVID-19.’ Speaking during the webinar, Jacob Manyuon Deng, Director General for Planning and Projects for South Sudan Electricity Corporation, said that all eyes are on hydropower, indicating that the renewable energy source is the company’s first choice to be utilized in expanding access to electricity across the country.

This follows the completion of the first phase of the African Development Bank’s (AfDBs) $38 million Juba Power Distribution System Rehabilitation and Expansion Project, which has added 33 MW of power to the national grid in Juba and holds the potential, once completed, to generate 100 MW of power.

In May, 6,131 out of 20,000 ‘last-mile’ commercial and domestic consumers who were targeted by the project were connected to the grid.

Other planned projects by the Ministry of Electricity, Dams, Irrigation, and Water Resources include the Uganda-South Sudan Transmission Line, a 400kV interconnection transmission line that spans 382km between Uganda and South Sudan. In 2018, the AfDB committed $1.5 million to finance feasibility studies for South Sudan’s section of the line, while Uganda is in the process of confirming funding for its portion.

“We are looking for the funding for [this] line so that we can use the same line to transmit [energy] to the region, [and so that] the potential of hydro that [South Sudan] has can be developed,” said Deng. “South Sudan is very rich in terms of hydro because we have the potential; this is where we are going to increase access to 50%,” he said.

The existing 296km, 230kV Ethiopia-Sudan interconnection transmission line also faces plans for expansion, although materialization of the project remains dependent on investment.

“We have a plan [for the line that has been erected] to be extended to the interior part of South Sudan,” said Deng. “All are in the plan, but we need funding.”

South Sudan holds the potential to generate over 2,500 MW of electricity from hydropower, mostly in its equatorial region.

Fula, Shukoli, Lakki, and Bedden are among the largest project sites that have been identified on the Nile River with the potential to be developed and are estimated to generate 2,927 MW of power.