By Tabora Bojang
The Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Abdoulie Jobe, has applauded the Gambia-Senegal electricity partnership as exemplary in the realization of regional electricity cooperation among Ecowas member states aimed at addressing the energy needs of the people.
The National Water and Electricity Company signed a 5-year power purchase agreement with the Societe Nationale d’ electricite du Senegal, Senelec, in April 2022.
According to Nawec the power purchase deal will facilitate the importation of 50 MW of electricity through the Soma and Brikama OMVG substations.
Nawec will initially use 30 MW this year on a take and pay basis.
Speaking at the 7th forum of the Ecowas Regional Electricity Regulatory Authority ERERA hosted by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority Pura in Banjul yesterday, Minister Jobe said the Nawec-Senelec cooperation is helping in transforming the Gambian economy.
The minister said while global crises like the Ukraine war and the Covid-19 pandemic have provided lessons and opportunities to consolidate regional solidarity and development of pragmatic long-term strategies to protect our economies from external shocks.
“In the context of the Gambia, we are already seeing the benefit of regional cooperation in many ways, through the OMVG energy project which connected us to the sub-regional power pool and presently with the political will of President Sall and President Barrow, we [are importing electricity from Senegal with a synonymic transformation in the production base of the country and the importance of electricity is an integral part of our electricity roadmap which currently accounts for about 30 percent of the energy consumption,” Jobe stated.
“Like many others in West Africa, this energy cooperation was realised after so many years of negotiation prior to implementation. We believe that moving forward we can do much more through WAAP and many other institutions such as ERERA who have succeeded in promoting energy training and availability in the region and the impacts are laudable,” added the former Trade Minister. He informed the gathering that there is a possibility for Gambia to also source power from Guinea Conakry after its government agreed to give 30 percent of its own production capacity to Senegal, Guinea Bissau and The Gambia through the OMVG transmission network.
“There is also a possibility to import power for the Gambia all the way from Cote d’ Ivoire. These are all interdependent opportunities to ensure energy security for our countries and propel the development,” Minister Jobe added.
Pura’s director general Yusupha M Jobe, said this year’s theme bordering on energy security in the Ecowas region through interdependence, is timely and fitting as it will stimulate objective discussions and proffer feasible solutions to the region’s growing energy needs.
“The forum offered us an avenue as regulators, development policy makers, consumers and utility service providers to rethink and ponder upon the increasing trend of high energy costs and trading methods and its underlying bottlenecks,”
Ecowas president’s representative, Sidiko Douka the commissioner of energy, infrastructure and digitalisation, disclosed that the Ecowas regional electricity market will be fully operational in 2023, which will allow ERERA enjoy full financial autonomy to effectively regulate energy matters in the region. He assured member states of Ecowas Commission’s unflinching support for the realisation of common goals and targets aimed at addressing energy deficiencies in the region.