By Okechukwu Nnodim
A central control centre that will be used to manage and operate all electricity grids in West Africa shall begin operations by 2020, the West African Power Pool, (Wapp) announced on Wednesday.
Wapp is an agency of the Economic Community of West African States and is made up of 14-member countries in the sub-region. The agency is currently holding its 14th General Assembly in Abuja.
The secretary-general of Wapp, Siengui Appollinaire, told journalists on the sidelines of the executive board meeting of the agency that there had been many remarkable feats by the group.
“The most important progress of the region is to complete the full interconnection of the 14-member countries of Wapp in West Africa. Two projects are currently ongoing to make this happen as fast as possible,” he said.
Appollinaire added, “The first one is the interconnection between Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. This one is ongoing and we will start the operation of this line in December.
“The second one is an interconnection between Senegal, Guinea, The Gambia and Guinea Bissau and when this one is finished, we would have interconnected the 14-member West African countries in the Wapp. This will be a great achievement.”
On the central system that would control the grids, he said, “We are completing the control centre, which is the place where all the electricity grids of West Africa will be monitored and from where the electricity market of West Africa will be managed.”
When asked to speak on timelines for the projects, Appollinaire replied, “We intend to complete all of these by next year; that is, by the end of 2020, everything should be operational.”
Nigeria chairs the board of Wapp and the executive board chairman of the agency, who doubles as the managing director, Transmission Company of Nigeria, Usman Mohammed, said the intention of the body was to increase energy access across the continent.
Mohammed said: “It is not only West Africa that has power pool. Most other continents of the world including America and Europe have it. The intention is to allow energy to move from where the cost of generation is low to places where it is demanded.
“This is to ultimately reduce the cost of energy across West Africa and Wapp has been working tirelessly to achieve this. It is also important to note that although Wapp is an agency of Ecowas, it is the utilities that finance Wapp.”
Mohammed stated that the general assembly had recorded tremendous progress and expressed optimism that the ongoing projects being executed by the agency would be completed as planned.