Energy Access in South Sudan

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With only 25 megawatts (Mw) of installed electricity generation capacity currently as of April 2012, only one percent of the country’s nine-million people had regular access to electricity, and these were mainly in the capital city, Juba.[1] Only three towns in South Sudan - Juba, Malakal, and Wau - have partial access to diesel stations for electricity, according to the South Sudanese government's official website in June 2012.[2]

The existing grid system only covers six states out of the ten in the country and the northern parts of the Blue Nile, according to the government,[2] but news agency All Africa reported in May 2012 that because of economic austerity measures, there was no electricity supply from the national grid, and that government departments and businesses had to rely entirely on power from generators that consume large quantities of fuel on a daily basis.[3] The Global Poverty Project reported in April 2012 that women in South Sudan could spend up to three hours each day collecting grass to burn for lighting.[4]

All Africa reported acute fuel shortages in Juba in May 2012, causing commodity prices to skyrocket in April-May and show no signs of improving. Most manufactured goods and processed food items in South Sudan are imported from neighboring countries.[3] All Africa also reported in May 2012 that the foreign owners of the petrol stations, planning to increase the price of fuel at the pump, were at odds with the South Sudanese government, which wanted to maintain the price of petrol at SSP 6 (roughly US $1.50) to keep fuel more affordable for the ordinary consumer.[3]

Expansion plans

The Engineering News reported in April 2012 that South Sudan had established a national power company to spearhead investments in the energy sector as part of measures to rebuild the war-torn country. The Southern Sudan Electricity Corporation, falling under the Ministry of Energy and Mining, was formed to oversee the energy subsector with its mandates being the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity.[1]

The South Sudanese government has developed an ambitious program aimed at electrifying 70 to 80 percent of South Sudan by 2020, according to the government's official website; the website cited three new power plants and localized distribution networks recently built in Juba, Malakal and Wau, as well as small-scale hydropower stations planned as a medium to longer-term solution for extending grids.[2] According to Engineering News in April 2012, South Sudan started negotiations with Ethiopia with the intention of importing about 100 Mw of electricity as a short term measure.[1]

Hydropower, geothermal and solar plans

South Sudan has vast potential to generate electricity from hydropower, especially along the Nile river. As of April 2012, South Sudan was undertaking feasibility studies for various hydropower projects with a combined capacity of 2,000 MW. The planned projects include Fula (890 Mw), Shukoli (235 Mw), Lakki (410 Mw) and Bedden (570 Mw). small hydro plants with capacities ranging between 3 MW and 11 MW are also in the planning stages, according to the Engineering News agency.[1]

The agency also reported in April 2012 that South Sudan is planning to partner with Kenya to exploit geothermal potential estimated at 2,500 Mw. Officials from South Sudan’s Ministry of Energy and Mining visited Kenya on a fact-finding mission to this end in January 2012.[1]

A new initiative by a company called Eight19 which provides off-grid solar power panels was launched in February 2012.[5]

Electricity power plant capacity in South Sudan

Area Number of Units Capacity per unit Total capacity Comments
Juba (Wartsila) 8 1.5 Megawatts (Mw) 12 Mw Operational
Juba (Cummins) 5 1 Mw 8 Mw Not operational
Malakal 6 0.8 Mw 4.8 Mw Operational
Wau 2 1 Mw 2 Mw Operational
Bor 2 1 Mw 2 Mw Under construction
Yambio 2 1 Mw 2 Mw Under construction
Rumbek 2 1 Mw 2 Mw Under construction
Renk S/Station 40 megavolt amperes (MVA) 2 MVA Operational


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "South Sudan sets up national power company", Engineering News, 20 April 2012
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "GOSS Online", Infrastructure, Retrieved 18 June 2012
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "South Sudan: Fuel Thirst", All Africa, 17 May 2012
  4. "Transforming Lives With Technology", Global Poverty Project blog, 18 April 2012
  5. "Eight19 brings pay-as-you-go solar to South Sudan", Eight19 official website, 12 April 2012