Journalists have toured the West Africa Power Pool (WAPP) facility which will implement the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Market in Benin Republic.
The Centre dubbed the“Information and Coordination Centre”, (ICC),will serve as a trading platform for various electricity market players under the ECOWAS Mandated Regional Electricity Market which is regulated by WAPP.
The inauguration on Friday November 17, 2023 represents a significant step towards realising the vision for an integrated, prosperous, and energy self-sufficient West Africa.
Background : WAPP & The Regional Electricity Market
West Africa Power Pool (WAPP) is a specialised agency of ECOWAS established in 1999 and officially set up in 2006 to devise 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 mandated by ECOWAS Heads of State and Government aimed at enhancing cooperation in electric energy within the West Africa Sub-Region. It is a strategic initiative which promotes competitive and transparent cross-border electricity trade among ECOWAS Member States.
At a media briefing prior to the inauguration 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 the look ahead to the implementation of the Regional Electricity Market.
Who constitutes the Regional Electricity Market
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 through the ICC’s structure that allows you to have a holistic view of what is happening on the interconnected network. Mr Ki of WAPP explains, what will change is that the market will bring competition and that will lead to the best possible rates for electricity prices for customers.
What is the WAPP Information and Coordination Centre (ICC)?
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.
Purchases can be made for a day or for months, a choice can be made to buy and sell power generated from thermal, renewable, hydro sources. The monitoring system shows multiple screens reflecting in real time the exchange flows from Senegal to ‘in Nigeria from the Sahel to the Gulf of Guinea.
EU €30m Support
Thus the EU’s €30 million (Euros) 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.
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 sub-region is projected at 8% annually thus the workings of the Information and Coordination Centre (ICC) will promote regional integration in the electricity energy sector.
WAPP Regional Market Readiness
A market simulation operation to buy and sell electricity on a regional scale is ready, and the Secretary General of WAPP, Mr Ki, indicated that WAPP will regulate and supervise the market to ensure it is open, transparent. West Africa is a pioneer region in this process in relation to similar systems other parts of Africa. Thus, as the ICC becomes fully operational, Mr Nubert stated, “it is a pleasure and an honour for me to finally see the inauguration of the centre.”
Journalists toured the ICC SCADA Control Room and Coordinating Centre which is plugged in with dispatchers of country members. The WAPP Secretary General, Mr Ki announced future plans to connect the ECOWAS regional market to others such as North Africa and even Europe for future electricity market competitiveness.