WAPP Power Grid Hooks 12 West African Countries – Decisive Step toward Regional Electricity Integration

MONROVIA : At long last, the integration of West Africa’s power systems as part of the implementation of the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Market became a reality when on Saturday, July 8, 2023 at 4:50 am (GMT), the West African Power Pool (WAPP) successfully synchronized the power grids of 12 West African countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

The synchronization of the 12 West African nations’ power grids is seen as a major milestone in the realization of its mandate to interconnect the power transmission networks of ECOWAS member states and create a unified regional electricity market.

According to a July 20, 2023 press release from the West African Power Pool, from now on, the power grids of these countries will operate as a single synchronous network, under the supervision of the WAPP Information and Coordination Centre (ICC) and the national control centers of these countries.

“This achievement is the culmination of many years of concerted effort by all parties involved, including learning from the unsuccessful synchronization trials of 2017 and 2020. It was made possible by a World Bank grant to the WAPP of 21.5 million US Dollars, which financed the needed network studies and the acquisition and installation of the necessary equipment.

“It was also made possible by a grant to the WAPP of 30 million Euros from the European Union, which enabled the construction and equipping of the ICC, the regional reliability coordinator.

“The final stage in the process of unifying West Africa’s power grids is synchronization with Zone 1, comprising the interconnected grids of Nigeria, Niger and part of the interconnected grids of Togo and Benin. This last stage is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2023, once the equipment tuning and testing work underway in Nigeria has been completed.

Additional resources in the amount of 55 million US Dollars will be provided by the World Bank to help the WAPP and its members complete synchronization investments and endow the ICC with adequate personnel to perform its role of WAPP System and Market Operator.

“The synchronization of all national power grids and the implementation of the Regional Electricity Market will enable the pooling of the sub-region’s energy resources, thus improving the security of supply of electricity to the population at a competitive cost. In addition, it will promote the sharing of frequency reserves and mutual assistance in the event of disturbances, thus improving the overall reliability of the WAPP interconnected transmission network,” the WAPP press release stated, noting that WAPP remains committed to regional energy integration, and that the success of this synchronization marks a major milestone in this journey, demonstrating the resolve and determination of member states to strengthen their cooperation and build a strong, sustainable energy future for West Africa.

“We would like to sincerely thank the World Bank and the European Union, who are the main financial backers of this activity. We are also very grateful to all of the WAPP’s Technical and Financial Partners who support our activities and finance the regional infrastructure we are building as part of the implementation of the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Market,” the release stated emphatically.

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