Opinion: S. should build hydroelectric power instead of fossil fuel power plants

Photo: Jacob M. Deng
Jacob M. Deng, in a khaki suit, talks with utility workers during the commissioning of a substation in Juba, South Sudan.
Jacob M. Deng, in a khaki suit, talks with utility workers during the commissioning of a substation in Juba, South Sudan |Photo: Jacob M. Deng

Sept 27, 2020 (Thessherald)–Hydroelectric power is better than power plants in the whole world. It has been some months now since the time when South Sudan built and announced their new fossil fuel power plant in the city of Juba. The idea behind the building of the new fossil fuel power plant was to fulfill the increasing demand of power energy in Juba city and across South Sudan. It is an excellent plan to deliver power energy to our citizens and esteemed foreign nationals living in South Sudan.

Moreover, electricity is very significant in the national development of any country globally. Industrialization, financial institutions, factories, businesses, government agencies, humanitarian organizations and general public need electricity to carry out many activities daily on earth.

But they need clean, sustainable and affordable electricity. They need power energy that is renewable, non-toxic, healthy and environmental friendly in South Sudan. The urban and rural electrification of the entire country is an excellent initiative but the affordability, sustainability, accessibility and environmental impact assessment need to be consider. Furthermore, the fossil fuel power plant that was built by the Ezra Group of Eritrea in Juba and which is 33-megawatt power plant is not really sufficient to provide the electricity needed across the city of Juba let alone the rest of the country. The new power plant was meant to provide the electricity to many households, businesses, government’s institutions, diplomatic missions and humanitarian agencies in Juba.

But it has up to now not fully deliver on that promise to the residents of Juba. The power plant has provided electricity to few areas in Juba only. Moreover, in our country many households and businesses depends on diesel generators to carry out their daily activities. It is widely reported that the new power plant will be run by diesel and will have scrubbers to avoid emissions compare to generators that are run by diesel. Additionally, what has not been fully reported is the affordability, reliability and accessibility of the electricity that’ll be generated by the new fossil fuel power plant to the city dwellers of Juba. Moreover, this is not the first time that the fossil fuel power plant has been established in South Sudan.

There were other power plants that were built in Bor, Wau, Malakal and other cities across the country and many of them are dysfunctional as I speak now. What lead to their dysfunctionality is not known until now? Most of the power plants in South Sudan were funded and built by the Egyptians. The Egyptians’ support is creditable but will power plants pretty aid South Sudan to achieve her full energy’s desire? Why do Egyptians support South Sudanese people to build power plants instead of hydroelectricity? They Egyptian government should be supporting South Sudan to build dams along the Nile river for her hydroelectric power instead of power plants which are not sustainable and renewable form of energy. And if there is any hidden fear by Egyptian government about any negative impact of the dams that South Sudan may build and will affect the share of Nile water to the Egyptians then they need to make it clear to our country.

Additionally, if the Egyptian government really want to help South Sudan, then they should support our government to build hydroelectric power in Fulla in Nimule instead of power plants. Who own the Nile river amongst the Nile basin countries? Who gave the highest share of the Nile water to Egypt? Was it almighty God (Allah) or British? And if it is our almighty God who divide the Nile river water, then where is our water share as South Sudan? where are they shares of other Nile river countries including our sisterly country Ethiopia? And if it is British who divide the Nile water, then where is our share? And who gave British the power to divide the Nile river water? All the Nile basin countries according to my equitable observation; all they Nile river’s nations have equal shares and rights in the Nile river. There is no country that has the supreme power and absolute control over Nile river. The Nile Basin countries need to share Nile river water equitably to avoid any future nonsensical bloodshed over the water resource of the Nile river.

Furthermore, hydroelectric power is more effective and efficient form of energy compare to the fossil fuel power plants and our country need to avoid those unreliable, unsustainable, unaffordable and non-renewable form of energy. Fossil fuel power plants can pollute the environment and are expensive to maintain in the long run. They waste a lot of fossil fuel compare to hydroelectricity.

They’re outdated form of energy that has been used for centuries and they’ve many disadvantages than advantages. Hydroelectricity is a clean and pollution-free form of energy source. Hydroelectric power can be run without the need to import fossil fuels in the country. Additionally, fossil fuel power plants burn a lot of fossil fuels such as coal and natural gas. In addition to that, there’re numerous benefits with hydroelectric power and they include: hydroelectric power is a renewable energy, hydroelectric power is a sustainable energy, hydroelectric power help in the storage and protection of drinking clean water, hydroelectric power increases the reliability and stability of electricity systems, hydroelectric power assists in the fight against climate change, hydroelectric power improves the air we breathe, hydroelectric power play crucial role in the national development, hydroelectric power is a clean and affordable form of energy for the nation and hydroelectric power is significant instrument for sustainable development.

Also, they hydroelectric power can create sufficient employment and revenues for the citizenry and government respectively. Finally, South Sudan need to build her own hydroelectric power dams and there should be no any desirability and plan to import electricity from sisterly bordering countries such as Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda and Kenya. The reliability on importation of everything from foreign nations into South Sudan will prevent us from building our beautiful South Sudan economically.

we need to be importing vital things only that we lack and cannot make in our nation at the moment. They South Sudanese people including our government have intelligent brains, energies, faculties and resources to develop our gorgeous South Sudan. a foreign hydroelectricity is a foreign hydroelectricity and we cannot absolutely rely on it.

South Sudan need her own hydroelectricity instead of fossil fuel power plants which lack reliability, marketability, affordability, and sustainability. They fossil fuel power plants are not environmental friendly and they pollute biodiversity and worsen climate change due to the gases that are release into the atmosphere.

So we as South Sudan Environmental Advocates (SSEA) strongly recommend other clean and renewable form of energy such as hydroelectricity, solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy or other clean energy sources instead of non-renewable fossil fuel power plants and diesel-run generators across South Sudan. We need cleaner and sustainable sources of energy in our country that’ll not affect our environment.

The government of South Sudan and Ministry of energy, dams and electricity need to seriously plan and start building hydroelectric power dams in the country and we should not import hydroelectricity from downstream neighbors whether at the moment or in the future in South Sudan.

Dependence on the importation of everything from other countries is not healthy economic wise and it can massively undermine South Sudan’s sovereignty, national economic growth and it can lead to an engineering of disrespect, revenues loss and unfair bilateral relations between South Sudan and other countries regionally and internationally. So let build our own hydroelectric power dams that’ll help us create employment opportunities, revenues, economic prosperity, profitability, maintainability and sustainable development in South Sudan.

The author is a National Project Coordinator of South Sudan Environmental Advocates (SSEA) and can be reached via his Email: beekmabior2020ssea@gmail.com Web: www.sseasouthsudan.org.

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