South Sudan is directing massive effort to develop the power sector to reduce a deficit of 170 megawatts by building several generation plants, implementing South Sudan Electricity Master Plan, and expanding distribution systems.
South Sudan Electricity Corporation (SSEC) said over 90 per cent of the country’s population lacks access to national power grid and 70 per cent of businesses rely on diesel-powered generators significantly limiting output.
“The primary challenge facing the power sector is the lack of quality infrastructure needed for electricity generation, transmission and distribution,” said SSEC in a status update of power sector revival efforts.
According to the director of planning and projects, Jacob Deng, SSEC is developing hydroelectric projects to provide the baseload power and complement it by building solar farms and other renewable projects.
For example, the proposed 120MW project near Juba, will be constructed at a cost of $490 million over five years even as the country seeks investors to help tap hydro resources.
The SSEC said it has finished technical evaluations for 20MW solar plant and 35MWh battery storage systems near Juba. The solar plant funded by African Export-Import Bank will offset deficits.
The state utility is also working to build or extend power interconnections with Sudan, Uganda and Ethiopia. The 400kV power transmission line from Karuma in Uganda to Juba is among those on the cards.
“Financing gaps represent a high-impact opportunity for foreign direct investment, while local capacity limitations provide the opportunity for knowledge and skills transfer,” said Mr Deng.
He said South Sudan is uniquely positioned to attract investors to build the power sector from the ground up and efforts are being made to enhance access to reliable electricity in Juba city while giving priority to the development of the energy infrastructure across the country.
“We plan to cover everybody here with grid electricity. South Sudan launched in November 2019 a newly built 100MW plant to supply power to Juba and its surroundings,” said Mr Deng.