The ECOWAS member countries, through the West African Power Pool (WAPP) are setting up a large electricity market to allow reliable and affordable electricity supply to citizens within member states. With the MD/CEO of TCN, Mr. U.G Mohammed as the Chairman of WAPP, the pool has been more proactive with more projects being executed. The WAPP electricity market needs infrastructures that was captured inside a unified investment Master Plan comprising:
- Electricity generation facilities where affordable
- Transmission facilities (lines and substations) to interconnect Grids/Networks and allow energy exchange
- IT platform for Energy Trading being implemented at Cotonou (WAPP-ICC)
In the framework of interconnecting Grids, many projects were identified to be priority project since they would enable energy to be traded among ECOWAS member countries such as;
- COASTAL BACKBONE (Cote d’Ivoire – Ghana – Benin/Togo – Nigeria)
- INTERZONAL HUB (Ghana – Burkina Faso – Mali)
- OMVG – OMVS (Guinea – Guinea Bissau – The Gambia – Senegal – Mali – Mauritania)
- CLSG (Cote d’Ivoire – Liberia – Sierra Leone – Guinea)
- NORTH CORE (Nigeria – Niger – Benin/Togo – Burkina Faso) is the last link that should allow the minimum required interconnectivity to exchange energy among West African countries.
SCOPE OF THE PROJECT (TRANSMISSION)
The infrastructure mainly comprises 875km of 330kV double circuit transmission lines from Birnin Kebbi (Nigeria) to Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) through Zabori (Niger) and Gorou Banda (Niger) and from Zabori (Niger) to Malanville (Benin). In addition, there is the 24km 225kV DC transmission lines in Burkina Faso, the grid would be looped inside Ouagadougou town. Five substations (Zabori and Gorou Banda in Niger, Ouaga East and Ouaga South-East in Burkina Faso, Malanville in Benin) would be executed as part of the project and some additional SCADA and SVC’s. In Nigeria, we have 62km transmission line in Niger we have 420km, in Burkina Faso we have 381km and in Benin 12km, totaling 875km of 330kV transmission lines while in Burkina Faso we have 24km of 225kV transmission lines. The project also has a rural electrification component to provide electricity to communities along the 330 kV lines, within a radius of 5km, in Burkina Faso and Niger, This will be implemented by their respective utilities, SONABEL and NIGELEC.
The project will affect community settlements, lands and livelihoods in the 50km line route. Resettlement Action Plans have been designed to mitigate specific social impacts in all the participants’ countries. In the same way, the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of the project has identified adverse environmental, health and security impacts that are being addressed by specific Environmental and Social Management Plans (ESMP) in each country.
TIMELINE FOR THE PROJECT
The project was officially launched on 7th of November 2019. Procurement has commenced with pre-qualification. Procurement process would be finalized towards end of this year. The works are estimated to last 30 months. (2 years and half). The project is therefore expected to be commissioned in the second quarter of 2023.
TECHNICAL AND FINANCIAL PARTNERS
The total cost of the project sums up to 567.5 million USD for the regional part, the Federal Government of Nigeria is contributing 0.9%, Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) 6%, African Development Bank 20.5% and the World Bank contributing 72.6 per cent. In addition to these, the European Union is funding the Rural Electrification component of the project. Meanwhile, feasibility studies of this project was funded by NEPAD and IPPF. The WAPP North Core Project is the last link that will allow interconnectivity of the country’s networks and facilitate electricity trade in the region. It is expected to have above 600MW flow from countries with available generation capacity, mainly Nigeria, which will allow increased revenue in the sector. The off-taking countries that are identified to be Burkina Faso, Niger, Benin and Togo, will enjoy electricity supply at lower cost. As soon as the infrastructure is in place, we can exchange energy from everywhere and this would incentivize private generating companies to invest in the market. Rural electrification will significantly increase electricity access to the communities along the transmission line route.