The Governments of Eritrea and Sudan will soon commence the construction of a 340Km, 220 KV double circuit power transmission line from Sudan to Eritrea.
According to document released by COMESA, the $70M power Interconnector project will link Sudanese town Kessela with Eritrean towns of Tesseney, Barentu, Agordet, Keren and when feasible, to Asmara.
The two countries also agreed to set up a Steering Committee (SC) to facilitate the establishment of project management teams as well as appoint a joint Project Coordinator.
So far, the preliminary project information memorandum (PIM) on the Sudan-Eritrea Power System Inter-connection Study has been completed.
The technical feasibility and economic viability of the project in the context of the existing situation and future power sector development in each country is yet to be carried out.
The feasibility studies that costs around $1m are yet to be completed within a year from the contract award and will be financed by the African Development Bank (AfDB).
Besides enhancing power trade between the two countries and develop the economy of the project area, the transmission line project would offer opportunities for electrification of rural communities especially within Eritrea at marginal costs compared to current options available.
The project is also expected to support investments in infrastructure that will facilitate the coordinated development of interconnection facilities between the two countries and thus start to remove physical constraints to power system integration.
The Sudan-Eritrea power transmission project shall take three years including the feasibility studies before getting fully operational and revenues for repayment of financing shall come from the sales of electricity.
The Eritrean Electricity system comprise of two systems; the inter-connected system (ICS) comprising of 91% of the business, and 5 Self-contained systems (SCS). All the power plants in both systems depend on oil driven thermal generators. The peak power of the ICS is around 50MW, indicating a very low access to power even by African standard.
Currently Sudan’s power system is only interconnected with Ethiopian power system and the 230/220 KV Ethiopia –Sudan Interconnection project, is now operational. Also feasibility study for the Interconnection of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt at 500KV AC and 600KV DC lines was completed by December 2009 under the Auspices of the Nile Basin Initiative with AfDB funding.
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