The Eastern Africa Power Pool (EAPP) is a regional intergovernmental body based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Its mission is the pooling of electrical energy resources in a coordinated and optimized manner to provide an affordable, sustainable and reliable electricity in the region. In this interview, Jasper Oduor points out the links between the EAPP and the Water-Energy-Food Security Nexus.
NEXUS Platform: Mr Oduor, could you briefly explain to our readers the background and main objectives of the East African Power pool EAPP and its activities until date?
is the Executive Secretary of the Eastern Africa Power Pool. He is a Registered Engineer with Engineers Registration Board of Kenya and a Member of Engineers Institute of Kenya and a member of Certified Board of Directors of Kenya.
Jasper Oduor: The main objective of the EAPP is to pool the power resources within our member states by implementing generation and transmission projects within our regional Power Master Plan so as to have Least Cost Power, increase efficiency, availability and reliability. A further objective is to develop a regional power market providing competition.
One of the main objectives of the EAPP is to establish a regional framework enabling private investors to contribute to water, energy and food security? To which extent have you succeeded until date? Are there any examples of investment which considered all three sectors — water, energy and food?
Jasper Oduor: Needless to say, hydropower does not consume any water, but we noted that when pounding the dam, some farm activities might be interrupted temporarily or permanently. All our projects, before implementation, are subjected to feasibility and ESIA studies. During all these studies, all the stakeholders are brought on board. This includes all the current and potential water users. Thus, there is the inclusion of issues of potential irrigation projects which has an in-built aspect of food. The principle of Least Cost Power Plan has to be balanced with the principle of Most Beneficial Plan. The private sector investment is included under the consideration of providing an enabling environment, by ensuring the necessary frameworks are in place — that is for example policy, legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks. The other issue is to ensure there are acceptable Transmission Interconnection Code and Standards, Market Rules and a good Operations Code.
With a focus on energy production and regional power trade our readers would be interested in your insights into the water-energy Nexus in East Africa. The biggest potential for generating energy with hydropower seems to be in DRC, Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania. Is this correct? To which extent has the EAPP taken the competing demands of "water for food" and "water for energy" into consideration?
Jasper Oduor: As pointed earlier, the water-energy-food Nexus is considered under the feasibility and ESIA studies where all the stakeholder interests are considered. Water use for irrigation and thus food production is considered. The possible swamping of farmland is also considered, even under resettlement mitigation and others. Needless to say, a power project can result in increase of agricultural activities. The concern of a power project would be water projects that extract water up-stream instead of down-stream.
Is there a "water-energy-food security Nexus" success story from the East African context and your work for the EAPP which you could tell our readers? What are your main lessons learned?
Jasper Oduor: As pointed above, we can claim success of all the hydropower projects within our region. This is mainly because of the consideration of the results of feasibility and ESIA studies that recognise and encompass the inputs from all stakeholders, mainly the water users for industry and domestic needs, as well as for irrigation for food-production, fish-development, recreation and catchment area conservation and preservation measures.
Thank you for the interview!