Sudan has seen its share of strife in the recent past, the country’s tumultuous past has come back to haunt it as the country has divided into Sudan and South Sudan, with South Sudan becoming independent in January 2012.
Sudan suffers from severe power crisis limiting it economic growth. Although electrical power generation has not yet seen any substantial growth over the years the country has steadily been increasing investments to solve this issue. The total installed capacity in Sudan amounts to 1,234.6 MW with the state owned National Electricity Corporation (NEC) being responsible for electricity generation, transmission and distribution. The fact remains that only 30% of the country’s population has access to electricity.
Sudan’s energy consumption mix continues to be dominated by oil with hydroelectricity playing a minor role accounting for less than 10%. The Sudanese government is planning to build a national electricity network (grid) and they are taking steps in this regard. Electrical power generation and establishing a secure grid network seems to be Sudan’s major concern.
South Sudan now sees more investments in the power sector with higher number of electrical generation projects in that region. Electricity is still being supplied through diesel powered generators to a large extent and more than 90% of the South Sudanese people are without access to electricity. Electricity supply is characterized with poor infrastructures, frequent power breaks, lack of spare parts and lack of technical persons. The total electric power required by South Sudan is estimated to be 450 MW and this is currently not being met. Although there are large hydropower plants being built along the river from Nimuli to Juba, it would take some time before they start actual operation.
Building medium hydropower and solar energy plants are needed to supplement the current poor situation of electric power in this region. With the current infrastructure and local knowledge, an installed capacity of only 25 MW is possible for a single plant. Sudan and South Sudan needs to look at building the technical knowhow and increase collaborations with power generation companies outside. South Sudan has been undertaking feasibility studies for various hydropower projects with a combined capacity of 2,000 MW, the planned projects include Fula (890 MW), Shukoli (235 MW), Lakki (410 MW) and Bedden (570 MW).
Most of the diesel generators used for power generation currently is being sourced from Finland. However some of these generators are not operational due to lack of maintenance and fuel shortages. Sudan would have to increasingly rely on electrical component sourcing for power generation operations. The focus would be to procure cheap and quality components and technical know-how from developing economies. Sudan can also encourage power companies in countries such as India to become partners with their public sector power companies such as The Southern Sudan Electricity Corporation and The National Electricity Corporation of Sudan (NEC).
Sudan has vast potential to generate electricity from sources like hydro, along the Nile, solar and geothermal. With so much expected in terms of growth it is the right phase for electric generation and distribution companies to find new opportunities and markets. The introduction of new power grids in this region can bring about better efficiency and reduce power losses and outages. Also installation of transmission lines in Sudan is expected to see major growth and there is an opportunity for investment. For example: Sudan has seen significant funding by the Government of China, to the extent of 85%, in its power line development initiative.
The Sudanese government is also proposing several projects to expand thermal and hydropower production, but is struggling to arrange sufficient financing. This is an investment opportunity area. Sudan is currently heavily dependent on imports as the native technology in the electric power generation segment is virtually nonexistent. In 2009, after the Merowe Dam came into operation, suddenly the total power production was doubled, requiring an upgrade of the grid to bring the electricity to the market. It is the aim of the Sudanese government to increase the access to electricity from 30% currently up to 90%. Aside from hydropower, small scale wind and solar installations can be found in Sudan. This region has extremely high solar intensity and sufficient sources of water. Biomass or biofuel production could also be a viable industry.
The current electric power generation market in Sudan and South Sudan is not great and is secondary to the oil and gas sector. With numerous proposed hydro power projects and the need to establish a national grid, Sudan and South Sudan are looking for foreign direct investments, and herein lays an opportunity for electric power generation companies to enter the market
Brickwork Sourcing works with global electric companies and component manufactures and has the capabilities of providing end-to-end sourcing as well as vendor and supply chain management solutions.
Will the implementation of a national electric grid in Sudan solve the power crisis?