By Tabora Bojang
A high-level ECOWAS delegation has arrived in The Gambia to meet stakeholders in the county’s energy sector on their state of preparedness ahead of the official launch of the ECOWAS regional electricity market.
The launch of the market is expected to take place in Cotonou, Benin.
The market, officials say, will interconnect all of the 14 member-states of ECOWAS in order to enable cross- border electricity and energy sales at cheaper costs.
It is hoped this will attract external investments in ECOWAS communities.
The West African Power Pool, WAPP is tasked with developing and implementing the regional electricity market and it is coordinating related activities with the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority, ERERA mandated to regularise and oversee the cross-border electricity trading as well as create an appropriate regulatory and economic environment for the development of the market.
The delegation earlier visited Cote d’ivore, Mali, Senegal, Benin, Togo, Guinea Bissau, Nigeria and other states to engage the various stakeholders and experts in the energy sector.
Headed by professor Honore’ Segui Bogler, Chairman of ERERA and Baba Jarju-sey, WAPP Director of finance and admin, the delegation met Gambia’s energy Minister Fafa Sanyang, senior officials of the public utilities regulatory authority, PURA, and other operators in the country’s energy sector.
ERERA chairman said the regional electricity market will be carried out in 3 successive phases, with the first phase to be launched in June that will be preceded by a meeting of energy ministers in the ECOWAS bloc.
According to the chairman, this phase will help amongst other things in the commissioning of most regional transmission infrastructure and continued bilateral agreements on cross-border power sales between participating entities.
He added that phase 2 will enhance the co-existence of a two-sided market with designated representatives of member states and a day-ahead market involving transmission network operators.
He said it will also enhance bilateral wheeling or cross-border sales agreements between participating entities.
The defining feature of Phase 3 of the electricity market is the creation of a liquid and competitive regional electricity market encompassing trading in different products or services.
The long-term vision is dependent on the availability of adequate regional transmission capacity and enough generation reserve in member states.
Baba Jarju-Sey, director of finance and administration of WAPP said the project would be a historic step in the medium and long-term transformations of ECOWAS member states in areas of energy and electricity consistency.
He said it will also help stabilise and bring affordability and reliability of electricity supply in the region as well as bring more external investments in ECOWAS member states.