By Dominic Hlordzi
The West Africa Power Pool (WAPP) Information and Coordination Centre is said to be ready to kick start electricity trading in the Sub-Region.
Journalists have been given a preview of the West Africa Power Pool Information and Coordination Centre (ICC) which will serve as a trading platform for various electricity market players under the ECOWAS Mandated Regional Electricity Market.
The facility funded by the European Union at a cost of 30 million Euros is located in Benin.
WAPP is a specialised agency of ECOWAS established in 1999 and officially set up in 2006 to devise and strategically drive infrastructure development for the production and transportation of electrical energy while coordinating the exchange of electrical energy among member states.
The concept of the Regional Electricity Market is a strategic initiative which promotes competitive and transparent cross-border electricity trade among ECOWAS Member States. Thus the EU’s €30 million support for the WAPP Information and Coordination Centre (ICC) delivers a modern office complex, a coordinating centre as well as the core of the infrastructure, the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems control room to undertake real time monitoring of the regional interconnected network and facilitate the administration of the Regional Electricity Market.
At a media briefing on Wednesday, November 15, the Secretary General of WAPP, Mr. Siengui Ki and the EU’s Head of Cooperation, Mr. Joel Neubert explained the strategic nature of the ICC project and looked at the implementation of the Regional Electricity Market.
Mr. Nubert stated that the EU’s collaboration enables ECOWAS and WAPP improve electricity access saying, “we want to support its ambition to develop an interconnected electricity network which is open, modern and efficient.” Demand for electricity in the subregion is projected at 8% annually thus the workings of the Information and Coordination Centre (ICC) will promote regional integration in the electricity energy sector.
Mr. Ki explains that what will change is that the market will bring competition and that will lead to the best possible rates for electricity prices for customers.
WAPP’s Regional Electricity Market players are made up of consumers, producers, transporters, distributors and an annual fee is paid to be a market participant. WAPP’s role is through the ICC’s structure that allows you to have a holistic view of what is happening on the interconnected network.
As the ICC became fully operational, Mr. Nubert stated, “West Africa is a pioneer region in this process in relation to similar systems in other parts of Africa… thus, it is a pleasure and an honour for me to see the inauguration of the centre finally.
The information and coordination centre is a bit like the nervous system which is equivalent to the king’s brain which collects essential information from the exchanges carried out by the electricity meters which are on the main international lines in the different parts of the region as well as all the information on purchases and sales which allows planning between all these companies involved in the distribution of electricity to the citizens of West Africa.
After the briefing, journalists toured the SCADA Control Room and Coordinating Centre which is plugged in with dispatchers of country members. Journalists were briefed about how the trading will be done. Purchases can be made for a day or for months, a choice can be made to buy and sell power generated from thermal, renewable and hydro sources.
The monitoring system shows multiple screens reflecting in real time the exchange flows from Senegal to Nigeria from the Sahel to the Gulf of Guinea. The WAPP Secretary General Mr. Ki announced future plans to connect the ECOWAS regional market to others such as North Africa and even Europe.