Working Paper
Technical note

Proposed model for regional power sector integration in Africa

Regional power pools present a significant and potentially defining opportunity for African power systems to develop domestic energy resources, improve system reliability, and contribute to overall economic development. Hydropower is expected to play a significant role in many regional power pools in Africa.

Feasible power transmission highways from Grand Inga in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Grand Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia to other regions on the continent create the possibility of a pan-African electricity grid. However, in the medium and long term, global climate change is expected to cause major variations in Africa’s hydrological resources and it is not known how these changes may impact the value of regional power sector integration.

This paper presents a model developed to study the value of different levels of regional integration in sub-Saharan Africa and how this value may change in the face of climate change. This work builds on previous studies by incorporating the ability to trade between different regional pools, co-optimisation of generation and transmission, the ability to share reserves, and detailed simulation of the major hydropower basins in Africa. Numerical results of the analysis will be presented in a parallel paper.