"They have been long coming”, says Jasper Oduor, well-respected energy expert in the East African region and former Executive Secretary of the Eastern Africa Power Pool. He continues: “many times we have ended with a very long dark tunnel at the end of the light. But now there is a very bright light at the end of a very short tunnel.”
Mr Oduor is one of the headline spakers at the upcoming East African Power Industry Convention (EAPIC) in Nairobi from 10-11 September. Uganda’s Energy Minister, the Honourable Engineer Irene Muloni, and Mr Mugo Kibati, CEO Kenya Vision 2030, are also confirmed to speak at the 15th edition of the event that will address issues from government, financial and regulatory environments, to generation, transmission and distribution.
Regional experts from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda, as well as international speakers from South Africa, Germany, Indonesia, India and Iceland will address the conference.
Regional power challenges
According to Mr Oduor, one of the biggest challenges for the power industry in East Africa is the issue of the size of the projects that could result in the benefits of scale. He explains: “the cost of power needs to go down, and the generation component cost seems to be highest. Power Pools provide an opportunity to optimize sharing.”
Another challenge is the perception of 'country risks' says Jasper Oduor,“which diminishes with big multi-border projects promoted by power pools. A third challenge is the push and pull between sovereign interest and regional benefits. The pie is big enough to be shared by the power generators, the power purchasers and power wheelers. What is to be avoided is the tendency to try to have market dominance by any sector of the power industry.”
EAPP very important
He regards as the greatest achievement so far “the development of the regional power master plan, the regional grid code, regional interconnection standards, market rules, system operations rules, the operationalization of an independent regulatory board and a strategic road-map for the power market development.”
Mr Oduor regards the role of the Eastern African Power Pool as “very important, but it is often treated as a village boy who is common to all, required by all to do chores for all, but no one wants to give decent clothing, but often blamed for bringing nakedness to the village. The villagers need to take ownership and not depend on outside donors (development partners) for those very important tasks. A case of putting your money where your heart is.”
On the opening day of the EAPIC conference (eapicforum.com), Tuesday 10 September, Mr Oduor will address the delegates on: “Eastern Africa Power Pool update Status of cross border interconnectivity and power trade”.
Event dates and location:
Conference days: 10-11 September 2013
Pre-conference workshop: 9 September 2013
Site visit: 12 September 2013
Location: Safari Park Hotel, Kasarani Off Thika Road, Nairobi, Kenya