CEO Today - Africa Awards 2023

Republic of Benin | 39 reliability throughout the region. To ensure the success of these interconnection projects, we undertake comprehensive technical studies and feasibility assessments. These studies form the foundation of our planning process, providing valuable insights into the infrastructure requirements, optimal routes and technical specifications. Additionally, we are committed to mobilising the necessary financial resources to support these projects. We collaborate closely with various stakeholders, including governments, regulatory bodies and development partners to secure the funding needed for implementation. The WAPP Master Plan for the Development of Power Generation and Transmission Infrastructure serves as a comprehensive roadmap for our activities. The current Master Plan, adopted in December 2018 by the Heads of State of ECOWAS, identified 75 power generation projects and power lines projects, outlining the strategic priorities and guiding principles for our infrastructure development endeavours. Can you share anything about the purpose and progress of the ongoing North Core and Median Core projects? Our vision of a fully interconnected West African region relies heavily on the successful implementation of the North Core and Median Core projects. These projects play a vital role in fostering regional energy exchange, enhancing energy security and driving economic growth and social development. The North Core project focuses on interconnecting the power systems of Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Niger. By establishing transmission lines and substations across these countries, we aim to facilitate seamless power exchanges and promote regional cooperation. Currently, the project is in the implementation phase, with notable components including more than 900km 330kV and 225kV transmission lines connecting Nigeria to Burkina via Niger and Benin. Additionally, the project involves the extension of existing substations such as Gorou Banda in Niger and Malanville in Benin, as well as the construction of new substations like Zabori in Niger, Ouaga Est and Ouaga Sud-Est in Burkina Faso. The utilities companies involved in North Core are not experienced in tackling projects of this scale, so we have to bring them together and demonstrate our plans. Now that the project is in its next stage, we expect it to be implemented within two years. Similarly, the Median Core project seeks to build a median power line across the region from Senegal to Nigeria. The first phase of this project envisions a 330kV transmission line spanning from Nigeria to Côte d’Ivoire via Benin, Togo and Ghana. Once realised, this infrastructure will enable efficient power exchanges and contribute to the economic and social development of the whole West Africa region. Please tell us about the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Market. What is the current phase of the market? The ECOWAS Regional Electricity Market (EREM) is what all this power infrastructure construction aims towards. We want to implement a sound and efficient electricity market in our region that will allow leveraging of the huge power potential of the region, facilitate cross-border trade and attract investment in the energy sector Currently, we are in the transitional phase of the market, focusing on crucial aspects of implementing the market design and establishing the regulatory frameworks. To ensure the successful implementation of EREM, we are working closely with national regulatory authorities. Together, we aim to develop and harmonise the national electricity market rules, legal frameworks and operational procedures. These collaborative efforts are designed to foster fair competition, transparent pricing and reliable operation of the regional electricity market. The first phase of the market was launched in June 2018, which primarily focuses on the bilateral market. With the power system operation control centre fully functional, equipped with the necessary equipment and software tools for electricity market management, we are prepared for Phase 2 of the market, also known as the competition phase. We anticipate active discussions centred around offers and requests within the market. The first priority was to interconnect all of the involved countries, and the second was to organise the rules that would govern the market. As of now, we can say that the interconnection part is almost finished. The second part will involve establishing a place where the electricity grid can be monitored and the market administered. The centre is now completed and ready, the grid is ready to be interconnected and the rules of the organisation are being worked on with the regulatory body. The competitive market that will be created in Phase 2 will be ready by the first quarter of next year.

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