South Sudan has launched the first phase of a 100MW power plant project which is expected to supply electricity to Juba and other surrounding areas. The country’s President Salva Kiir performed the inauguration ceremony and said that the power plant will help the nation to embark on post-conflict recovery after more than five years of conflict.
“This project marks a major milestone for the Ministry of Energy and Dams and the nation at large. More importantly, it is hoped for us as people that our dreams will not just remain dreams but will become a reality. This project will spur development across the economic sectors,” said President Kiir.
According to the president, the power sector was ruined in the wake of the outbreak of the December 2013 conflict which also devastated the economy after halting oil production leading to hyperinflation. Government -owned power stations were all shut down due to operational challenges. “During the 2013 crisis, the government took tangible steps to address the dire situation and decided to involve the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the private sector in efforts not only to revive the sector but also to achieve stability,” said his Excellency.
Diesel fuelled power plant
Construction by Ezra Company Limited commenced in 2017 and will supply 33MW of electricity in the first phase before completion of the entire project by 2021. About 100,000 households will benefit in the first phase. According to the project contractor, the plant will provide “much cleaner air” for residents of the capital as it displaces thousands of polluting small generators.
The new power plant, which will run on diesel fuel as well and has scrubbers to reduce emissions compared to diesel-run generators. The investment cost of the project is US $290m which the government will pay back over 17years “Right now, every household, every business has a generator running 24 hours to supply electricity. Now bringing all these in one pool, the city will be much cleaner,” said Mr Meron Tekie Ezra, Managing Director of construction and development for Ezra Group.
Lowest electricity access
South Sudan has one of the lowest electricity access with over 90% of its 12 million population lacking access to electricity. More than 70% of businesses in South Sudan depend on diesel-powered generators to operate, while most families rely on cheap kerosene to light up their homes.
According to the president, the government is putting efforts in exploiting and developing hydro and renewable energy resources. “With funding from the AfDB, we aim to generate 10-40 MW of renewable energy. The government also plans to invest into the 1,080 MW grand Fula hydropower project to generate and distribute power across various states in South Sudan,” said President Kiir.