The government has prioritized the implementation of the dragging Fula dam project to boost the country’s energy yield and connect more consumers to the grid, said the undersecretary in the Ministry of Energy and Dams, Tom Remis.
Speaking on Friday during the national economic conference, which took place for four days in Juba, Remis said the Grand Fula Hydropower Project is strongly recommended as the top energy priority for the socio-economic development of the people of South Sudan.
“The government of South Sudan has to prioritize energy as a critical input to the country’s recovery program’s stability and development,” Remis said.
He added, “the government [can] avail the opportunity and invite potential investors to develop the Grand Fula hydropower project as its top energy priority project for electricity countywide.”
He added that the government has acknowledged the need to develop the institutional capacity for the energy sector in South Sudan.
Last year, the government of South Sudan and the Ethiopian government signed a memorandum of understanding for Ethiopia to export hydroelectric power to South Sudan. The power utility that was agreed upon is an initial 100 megawatts of electricity.
The MoU is critical to satisfying electricity demand in South Sudan while also raising revenue for Ethiopia, with plans to gradually expand imports to 400megawatts.
Remis said there are challenges facing the ministry when it comes to hydroelectric power generation which need to be addressed.
“We have completed the power that comes from Uganda, but the contractors are demanding payment from the government.”
“The Contractors of Uganda (Olwiyo) are yet to hand over the power to the government since the government has paid $20 million and will finalise the payment in December,” he added.
Despite the deals in hydroelectric power, South Sudan currently depends on generators as the source of power in the country.
According to the undersecretary, the feasibility studies were completed in 2009, but the government of South Sudan needs to meet the payment of $12 million to own the documents.
The Ministry of Energy and Dams in South Sudan and the Uganda Government have recently entered into a power sales agreement (PSA) with South Sudan Electricity Cooperation (SSEC) for trade in electricity between the two countries.
Both countries will work together to construct the 400 kV, 308-km Olwiyo-Juba Power Interconnection Project to enable power trade. Of the total line length, 138 km will be installed in South Sudan and 170 km in Uganda.
Last year September, Mr Remis called for more budgetary allocation to enable the ministry fast-track the projects of generating hydroelectric power through dam constructions.
“Electricity needs to be prioritised in government policy, because all these years, in the budget, electricity is not being prioritised. That is why today, we are unable to cover the whole town of Juba,” he added.
He called for payment of the instalment of over $8 million so that the ministry could have the feasibility studies done to embark on the construction of dams.
“It is about $8, 000, 000.” We request that money to be paid so that we own studies, because without studies, we cannot develop those hydropower plants.”