April 13, 2024


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Rwanda and Uganda Commence Power Trade Through the 220kV 172 km Shango – Mbarara Power Interconnection

Following completion of interconnection and synchronization of the power grids of Rwanda and Uganda in June 2023 through 220kV 172 km Shango –Mbarara Interconnection, the two nations commenced trading of power in October 2023.

The NEL- SAP-CU Regional Power Program Officer for Power and Trade Eng. Jacob Manyuon Deng revealed that because of this interconnection, Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) receives an average of USD 1.5 million per month from Rwanda.

 “In November 2023, Uganda exported 6.6 million KWh of power to Rwanda while in December it ex- ported 9.4 million KWh. The average registered power export to Rwanda is 27.1 MW, while the maximum power transmitted to Rwanda was 37.6MW,” explained Eng. Deng.

The Shango – Mbarara inter- connection was first conceived under the Northern Corridor Integration Infrastructure Projects. The project was taken up under NELSAP-CU led Inter- connection of Power Grids of NEL Countries project, which aimed to interconnect the power grids of five countries (Burundi, D.R Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda) through a 946km 220kV and 400kV Over-Head Transmission Lines (OHTLs) and 17 associate substations.

 NELSAP-CU conducted Feasibility Studies and provided technical support during construction and synchronization of Rwanda-Uganda power interconnection. To facilitate completion and commissioning of this project NELSAP-CU, the East Africa Power Pool (EAPP), and the two countries, put into place working groups that consisted of planning, dispatching, protection and telecommunications engineers from the countries.

Rwanda and Uganda, through their national utilities Rwanda Energy Group (REG) and Uganda Electricity Transmission Company Limited (UETCL) then signed a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) to guide this power exchange process.

 “The aim of NELSAP-CU power interconnection projects is to improve access to electricity in NEL countries, lower electricity costs to consumers, stabilize power networks, promote bi-directional (two-way) cross-border trade of energy and power, increase competition among energy generating countries leading to lower prices for consumers and support clean energy generation projects,” said Eng. Dr. Isaac Alukwe, NELSAP-CU Regional Coordinator.

 “NELSAP-CU together with East Africa Power Pool (EAPP) with support from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) supported modalities for preparation for coordinated and smooth synchronized operation of interconnected power grid system.

Key areas that were addressed are protection schemes, outage requests, fault detection and clearing, synchronization of voltages and frequencies, dispatch and operational procedures, coordination of maintenance schedules and regional power trade as per EAPP Interconnection Code,” explained Eng. Deng.

 This transmission line was funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) General Outlook of Power Interconnections in the NEL Region The electric grids of Kenya and Uganda are in synchronized operation and a second transmission line running from Lessos in Kenya to Tororo and Bujagali is under implementation through NELSAP-CU. Grids of Rwanda and Burundi and part of Eastern D.R Congo are also connected at Ruzizi.

Rwanda-DRC interconnection has been in operation for six years through Gisenyi-Goma line. The grids of Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania are being connected through the 80MW Rusumo Hydroelectric Power Project.

Kenya and Tanzania are connected through ZTK Interconnection that runs from Isinya in Kenya to Arusha and Singida in Tanzania and onwards to Kabwe in Zambia. NELSAP-CU completed feasibili- ty for ZTK Interconnection in 2017 and organized a donor’s conference for its funding. The interconnection between Rwanda and Uganda was one of key missing links, whose commissioning has realized an integration of the electric grids of the five countries namely, Burundi, D.R Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda. Currently Feasibility studies are ongoing through NELSAP-CU for interconnection between DRC-Uganda and South Sudan-Uganda.

Source: NELSAP Newsletter

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