Moving towards a joint East African power market
Eastern Africa is planning to establish a joint power market, with an efficient and reliable electrical supply throughout the region. The East African Power Pool, EAPP, would oversee an economically and environmentally sustainable development of the energy resources.
To make this happen, the power transmission systems in the involved countries will have to become interconnected. New transmission lines and substations are to be built in countries with differing political views, and in both inhabited regions and wildlife areas.
The interconnection of Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda is an important step towards the connected market. Our ÅF Swiss office was chosen to perform the feasibility study for the transmission connection of these countries. The feasibility study was challenging, with several important factors to take into account according to Christian Urabl, Head of Transmission & Distribution in Switzerland, who is involved in the project.
“We have investigated whether it is economically feasible, and how it would affect the population and the environment,” says Christian Urabl. “We have also investigated how the transmission system should be routed, where to put the substations and how many to install.”
The project includes approximately 1000 km of transmission lines and 13 substations spanning a challenging topography that comprises both populated and environmentally sensitive regions. The project manager of the feasibility study was Sandeep Bhowmick, Director of Sales for ÅF in Africa.
“Our solution had to be sustainable and environmental friendly as well as be in accordance with local laws. To assure that, we engaged local companies with a deep knowledge of the region,” says Sandeep Bhowmick. “This combined with our group of experts has assured a high quality result.”
The project was finished well ahead of time. Sandeep Bhowmick explains the secret behind this. “Most companies will wait for the advance payment, which could take months, before they start their project. We start as soon as we reach an agreement with the client, which gives us a head start.”
The ÅF Swiss office has operated in Africa for twenty years, mainly in Nigeria and its neighbouring countries.
“We got the mission thanks to our experiences from West Africa and the sales effort from Sandeep Bhowmick. This is an important step towards an increased business in East Africa,” Christian Urabl says.
The combination of timeliness, quality, and knowledge of the area has paid off. ÅF is going to carry out projects in Uganda, which will commence very soon. But the activities will not end there.
“The transmission projects open up the East African market for other business areas within ÅF,” says Sandeep Bhowmick.
“Our goal is that half of the revenue of T&D in Switzerland will originate in the African market,” finishes Christian Urabl.