The thawing of ties between Uganda and Rwanda has benefited efforts for electricity connectivity between the two countries, as have other projects aimed at improving the East African power pool.
“Commissioning of the Uganda-Rwanda line awaits installation of communication boosters on the Rwandan side,” Uganda’s Energy Ministry Permanent Secretary Irene Pauline Batebe, stated. The high-voltage electricity exchange between Rwanda and Uganda was planned to begin in 2020. The power exchange will increase from the existing 2MW to around 200MW upon project completion.
According to Uganda’s Electricity Regulatory Authority’s technical director, Richard Okou, the two parties are awaiting the construction of suitable electrical equipment and connectivity for communication.
Power exchanges between the two nations have been taking place at the Cyanika border since 1995, which serves Gatuna and Kisoro in Uganda. Both nations have limited power distribution networks, which prevent them from producing more energy than they can need.
The 220/110kV Shango substation, located on the Rwandan side, is referred to as a vital facility for connecting the electricity grids of Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was put into service in 2019.
Up till the Mirama Hills connecting point, Uganda’s line is electrified. It intends to connect its grid to Tanzania at Mutukula, South Sudan at Nimule, the Democratic Republic of the Congo at Mpondwe, and Kenya at Malaba.
Uganda, however, found it challenging to export its electricity as the development of high-voltage overhead transmission lines in the neighboring nations stopped.
These initiatives make into the larger Eastern African Power Pool Power (EAPP), a forecast of upcoming connections across different power systems.
According to an EAPP estimate of anticipated trends from 2021 to 2030 released in 2021, several nations struggle to meet a reserve margin of 15% of power supply purely from domestic generation, while others have a surplus with the inequitable distribution.
Additionally, according to information from the Uganda Power Regulatory Authority, as of December 2021, Uganda has 1,346 MW of installed power, 800 MW of demand, and 546 MW of excess capacity.
DR Congo, South Sudan, and Kenya are potential customers for Uganda’s electricity exports, provided that local evacuation infrastructure is finished.
It features two 220 kV line bays to link to the networks of Uganda and Western Tanzania, two 220 kV line bays to connect to the networks of Northeastern DR Congo and Rubavu substation, and two 220 kV line bays to connect to the networks of Northeastern DR Congo and Rusumo Falls hydropower facility.