Sudan releases plans to add 500 MW of hydroelectric capacity by 2020

Rumela Dam
The Rumela Dam on Upper Atbarah River in Eastern Sudan.

Sudan has approved the Ministry of Water Resources and Electricity for Enhancing Electricity Power Service plan, a document detailing how to increase hydroelectric power generation in the country from 1,500 MW to 2,000 MW by 2020.

The document also lists proposals to upgrade thermal power energy generation from 900 MW to 3,555 MW, adding a total of 3,155 MW of capacity in five years.

The technical committee of the economic development sector at Sudan's Council of Ministers approved the framework document the final week of July 2015, according to a press release from the ministry.

Toward its goal, Sudan would like to complete dam construction at the 320-MW Upper Atbara and Setit hydroelectric project. The project includes Rumela Dam on Upper Atbarah River and Burdana Dam on Setit River, in Eastern Sudan.

The US$1.9 billion twin-dam hydroelectric project is being constructed 12 mi upstream from the Atbarah and Setit rivers junction and about 50 mi south of the 10-MW Khashm el-Girba hydroelectric project.

Construction began in 2011 and both dams are expected to be complete by March 2016.

1,250-MW Merowe hydroelectric project

Needed energy
The Sudanese Ministry of Electricity announced that it routinely faces a 5% deficit in electricity supply during peak hours.

Electricity from 1,250-MW Merowe hydropower facility, Sudan’s largest capacity hydroelectric project, cannot fully power Khartoum alone, even if it is operating at its maximum capacity.

Of the country’s 39 million inhabitants, only 35% have access to electricity. This means, according to estimates from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), more than 25 million people in Sudan are not connected to its national electricity grid.

Extensive areas of Sudan recently witnessed systematic electricity power cuts, prompting modest protests in the capital city of Khartoum as well as a number of other Sudanese cities.

A massive fire at Metro Dam, about 380 kilometers north of Khartoum, damaged power transformers on May 4 and knocked out power to a large portion of the country.

Published reports indicate blackouts often occur in Khartoum, but the May 4 incident marked the first time power outages hit most parts of the country.

In December 2014, UNDP warned that Sudan would face an electricity production problem in the future, if it does not establish alternative projects that take into account decreased rainfall and increased consumption.

The newly adopted plans also include linking the national electricity grid to towns in provinces that include Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan. In its statement, the government said these region are currently experiencing armed clashes between government forces and armed groups.
 

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