The West Africa Power Pool (WAPP) facility that will implement the ECOWAS Regional Electricity Market in Benin Republic has organised a media tour of the facility.
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 17th November 2023 represents a significant step toward realising the vision of an integrated, prosperous and energy self-sufficient West Africa.
WAPP and 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 and strategically drive infrastructure development for the production and transportation of electrical energy while coordinating the exchange of electrical energy among member-states.
The Regional Electricity Market concept 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 that promotes competitive and transparent cross-border electricity trade among ECOWAS member-states.
At a media briefing prior to the inauguration on Wednesday, November 15, Secretary General-WAPP, Mr. Siengui Ki, and the EU’s Head of Cooperation, Mr. Joel Neubert, explained the ICC project’s strategic nature and looked ahead to the Regional Electricity Market’s implementation.
Who constitutes the Regional Electricity Market?
WAPP’s Regional Electricity Market players comprise consumers, producers, transporters and distributors, and an annual fee is paid to be a market participant. WAPP’s role through the ICC’s structure allows you to have a wholistic view of what is happening on the interconnected network. Mr. Ki of WAPP explains that what will change is the market bringing competition – leading to the best possible rates for customers’ electricity prices.
What is the WAPP Information and Coordination Centre (ICC)?
The information and coordination centre collects essential information from the exchanges carried out by the electricity meters that are on the main international lines in 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 citizens of West Africa.
Purchases can be made for a day or for months; and a choice can be made to buy and sell power generated from thermal, renewable or hydro sources. The monitoring system employs multiple screens, reflecting in real-time the exchange flows from Senegal to Nigeria, from the Sahel to the Gulf of Guinea.
EU €30m Support
Thus, the EU’s €30million support for the WAPP Information and Coordination Centre (ICC) delivers a modern office complex, a coordinating centre as well as the infrastructure’s core – the Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems control room – to undertake real-time monitoring of the regional interconnected network and facilitate the Regional Electricity Market’s administration.
Mr. Nubert stated that the EU’s collaboration enables ECOWAS and WAPP to improve electricity access, saying: “We want to support its ambition to develop an interconnected electricity network that is open, modern and efficient”. Demand for electricity in the sub-region is projected at 8% annually; hence, 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 Secretary General-WAPP, Mr. Ki, indicated that WAPP will regulate and supervise the market to ensure it is open and transparent. West Africa is a pioneer region in this process in relation to similar systems in other parts of Africa. Thus, as the ICC becomes fully operational, Mr. Nubert stated: “It is a pleasure and honour for me to finally see the Centre’s inauguration”.
Journalists toured the ICC SCADA Control Room and Coordinating Centre, which is plugged in with dispatchers of member-countries. 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.