Building connections - support to the West-African Power Pool Programme
Regional power interconnections improve access to cheaper energy, bring security of energy supply and decrease dependence on fossil fuels thanks to a more efficient use of energy resources. This is why the European Commission supports the West-African Power Pool (WAPP), a cooperation initiative linking national electricity companies in Western Africa.
The initiative contributes directly to achieving the objective of access to sustainable energy, which the European Commission has made a priority in the framework of the UN Year of Sustainable Energy for All. The network will provide energy access to more than 236 thousand people and connect more than 12 thousand households in rural areas.
This is achieved by integrating national power system operations into a unified regional electricity market. The overall support of the European Commission to the WAPP targets capacity building activities and technical assistance as well as the construction of 4 362 km of high voltage lines, 637 km of medium voltage and 194 of low voltage lines in 10 countries of the region and creating connections to the grid in rural areas
A unique example of regional integration
The WAPP is a specialised body of the Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS). It aims to facilitate the balanced development of ECOWAS Member States' diverse energy resources for their collective economic benefit. This is achieved through long-term energy sector cooperation, unimpeded energy transit and increased cross-border electricity trade.
ECOWAS Member States benefiting from the project include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.
The Commission has strongly supported this undertaking since its inception. It has financed 13 projects supporting its activities. They cover:
- technical assistance;
- capacity building for the WAPP and the energy sector in the region;
- concrete works interconnecting 10 countries and creating connections to the grid in rural areas.
Since 2007, the Commission has mobilised a total of €47.3 million in grants and interest rate subsidies for a project cost of €524.9 million under the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund (ITF) and the ACP-EU Energy Facility.
|Cross-Border Supply of Electricity to Rural Communities in Togo (Benin) – One of the WAPP Projects funded by the European Commission|
This Commission-funded project aimed to provide electricity connections to rural communities through cross-border supply and grid extensions.
The project was highly successful: 1 200 households were connected to the low voltage grid, and 200 street lights were installed. Electricity could be provided to four hospitals and three water pumps. National utilities of two neighbouring countries now cooperate in order to use the supply facilities of one to satisfy demand of the other.
The ACP-EU Energy Facility contributed a total of €1.5 million to the project.
Building on achievements
Thanks to the overall support of the European Commission, the WAPP is now the most dynamic power pool in Africa. It is a unique example of how regional integration can foster development and reduce poverty.
190 km of medium voltage and low voltage lines have been constructed as a result of WAPP.
The Commission intends to build on these positive results and will continue to fund WAPP activities. It will make €60 million available to finance the WAPP Information and Communication Centre through the Regional Indicative Programme.
|"A lot has been achieved thanks to the relentless efforts of the WAPP and member utilities. As shown by the updated WAPP Master Plan that was recently completed with financing from the ACP-EU Infrastructure Trust Fund, substantial investments must take place in the next 15 years in order to carry out the mission of the WAPP; that is, to create a regional market for electricity, ensuring access to reliable and least-cost energy to all its members."
Eve Walter, Africa, Caribbean, Pacific - Investment Facility Department (European Investment Bank)