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Uganda earns USD 4.5M from electricity exports to Rwanda in 3 months


Uganda earns USD 4.5M from electricity exports to Rwanda in 3 months

Mbarara sub station is part of the new 172km Mbarara-Shango interconnection that was completed in October 2023 paving way for power trade between Uganda and Rwanda. , and allows Uganda

Uganda has earned about USD 4.5M from exporting electricity to Rwanda during the past three months since November 2023.

This follows the successful completion of the interconnection and synchronization of the power grids of both countries through the 220kV 172 km Shango – Mbarara interconnection.

Eng. Jacob Manyuon Deng, the Regional Power Program Officer for Power and Trade for NELSAP-CU, told The Sunrise that: “In November 2023, Uganda exported 6.6 million KWh of power to Rwanda while in December it exported 9.4 million KWh.

The average registered power export to Rwanda is 27.1 MW, while the maximum power transmitted to Rwanda was 37.6MW.”

NELSAP-CU, which is short for Nile Equatorial Lakes Subsidiary Action Plan Coordinating Unit, is the implementation arm of the regional Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), a body that promotes cooperation in the use of shared water resources in the Nile river.

Eng. Deng revealed that because of this interconnection, Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) receives an average of USD 1.5 million per month from Rwanda.

The Shango – Mbarara Overhead Interconnection was first conceived under the Northern Corridor Integration Infrastructure Projects. The project was taken up under the NELSAP-CU led Interconnection of Power Grids of the NEL Countries project, which aimed to interconnect the power grids of five countries (Burundi, D.R Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda) through a 946km 220kV and 400kV Overhead Transmission Lines (OHTL) and 17 associate substations.

NELSAP-CU conducted its Feasibility Studies and provided technical support during its construction and synchronization. The African Development Bank (AfFB), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and The Netherlands funded the construction of the interconnection line in form of grants and loans.

To facilitate completion and commissioning of the Uganda-Rwanda Interconnection project, NELSAP-CU, the East Africa Power Pool (EAPP), and the two countries, put into place working groups that consisted of planning, dispatching, protection and telecommunications engineers from the countries. Rwanda and Uganda, through their national utilities Rwanda Energy Group (REG) and Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) then signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) to guide this power exchange process.

Eng. Deng explained that: “NELSAP-CU together with the EAPP with support from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) supported modalities for preparation for coordinated and smooth synchronized operation of the interconnected power grid system for Uganda and Rwanda.”

He added: “Key areas that were addressed are protection schemes, outage requests, fault detection and clearing, synchronization of voltages and frequencies, dispatch and operational procedures, coordination of maintenance schedules and regional power trade as per the EAPP Interconnection Code.”

Eng. Dr. Isaac Alukwe, the NELSAP-CU Regional Coordinator also observed that: “The aim of the NELSAP-CU power interconnection projects is to improve access to electricity in the NEL countries, lower electricity costs to consumers, stabilize the power network, promote bi-directional (two-way) cross-border trade of energy and power, increase competition among energy generating countries leading to lower prices for consumers and support clean energy generation projects,” said.

Interconnected grids becoming a reality in the NEL Region

The electric grids of Kenya and Uganda are in synchronized operation and a second transmission line running from Lessos in Kenya to Tororo and Bujagali is under implementation through NELSAP-CU. Grids of Rwanda and Burundi and part of the Eastern D.R Congo are also connected at Ruzizi.

Rwanda-DRC interconnection has been in operation for six years through Gisenyi-Goma line. The grids of Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania are being connected through another NELSAP-CU Project, the 80MW Regional Rusumo Falls Hydroelectric Power project. Kenya and Tanzania are connected through the ZTK transmission line that runs from Isinya in Kenya to Arusha and Singida in Tanzania and onwards to Kabwe in Zambia.

NELSAP-CU conducted feasibility for the ZTK Transmission in 2017. The interconnection between Rwanda and Uganda was one of the key missing links, whose commissioning has realized an integration of the electric grids of the five countries namely, Burundi, D.R Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda. Currently Feasibility studies are ongoing through NELSAP-CU for interconnection between DRC-Uganda and South Sudan-Uganda.



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