By Goth Mohamed Goth
The Somaliland 4th Energy Sector Coordination Forum was held this week at the Ministry of Energy and Minerals headquarters in Hargeisa.
The objectives of the forum was to provide update on the sector activities, development and implementing partner’s sector support activities and to identify the key priorities of the sector for the next period.
Hon Jama H. Mohamud Egal, Minister of Energy and Minerals who is the sector chair in his opening remarks thanked all the participants taking part in the forum. He further praised the department of planning and the various arms of the ministry for the effective and participatory event. The minister urged the participants to exchange views and information and come up with recommendations to strengthen the energy extractives coordination forum.
The Ministers Speech- stated as follows-
First and for most I would like to thank the distinguished guests and honorable participants of this well attended Somaliland energy and extractive sector coordination forum, that promotes the development of the Somaliland energy sector.
It is indeed an honor for my Ministry to host this important meeting for the first time during my term being as the Minister of energy and minerals and the fourth time since it has been initiated. Much credit and thanks go to my Ministry staff, the event organizers, who with the support of ESRES made this event, happen here in Hargeisa, Somaliland.
This is a very important forum which enables us to share our ideas, coordinate our efforts and synergize our important activities, both the ones that are currently going on in the energy and the extractive sector as well as those that are in the pipeline, through this forum we will be capable, in identifying who is doing what and we can come up with a clear division of labor among our reputable institutions, similarly we will promote and encourage meaningful energy and extractive development projects in Somaliland.
The government needs to focus and concentrate in creating opportunities, working in partnership with the development partners, to lead and guide the advancement of energy and extractive sector in Somaliland on the basis of our needs.
There is a great demand in Somaliland from all sectors and there is a great interest from development partners to invest in the energy and extractive sector of Somaliland.
I would like to take this opportunity to touch on the challenges as well as the opportunities that Somaliland faces in having access to clean and affordable energy.
Electricity generation is mostly done through diesel generators the installed capacity is under 200mW, consequently the country has one of the highest electicity rates in the world $1.kwh with an average of $0.79/kwh, thanks to ESRES project which reduced the cost of electricity in some of Somaliland towns to $0.5/kwh.
Somaliland is currently an energy poor country; but, it is a renewable energy resource rich country.
The country is bestowed upon a year-round sun that provides an average of 12hrs sunshine per day.
Somaliland also posts one of the highest wind speeds in the continent. If these two renewable energy resources are tapped they can supply ample quantities of clean affordable energy to the nation that can mitigate the harmful environmental impact effects of biomass. It is also out priority to develop infrastructures which will enable us to promote the production as well as the usage of energy for sustainable economic, social development. This can only be achieved through tremendous support provided by our international and development partners.
Despite the above challenges, Somaliland has been doing all it can in developing the energy and extractive sector.
Somaliland is one of the most potential countries when it comes to hydrocarbons and it has all the indications to be an oil producing country. East African countries have experienced great successes in making major oil and gas discoveries such as in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar and Ethiopia.
Somaliland hopes to be part of this growing East African oil patch. For the past 8 years, the Ministry invested a great deal of effort and time in marketing Somaliland’s petroleum potential and attracted international oil companies. There are now a number of international oil companies that are operating in Somaliland and have a production sharing agreement with the government of Somaliland. Two of those companies took part in a recent major multi-client seismic project, which took 20 months and was managed by the Ministry. These companies acquired a total of 4,300km of 20 seismic, conducted by BGP inc, A Chinese national company which is the leading company of onshore seismic. The seismic data is currently being processed and interpreted and first exploration well is to be drilling second half of 2019. In addition to the most recent seismic, good quality 5,300km of marine 20 seismic and 34,000km of high resolution onshore aeromagnetic acquired by TGS-NOPEC in 2008 is currently in the market for interested investors to purchase. The current Somaliland hydrocarbon blocks scheme is one degree one block and offers investors an enormous area of land (12,100km3 per block).
Somaliland is part of the highly productive Mozambique belt and has even greater potentiality in minerals. The known minerals in Somaliland include base metals, precious metals, coal, rear earth and gemstones, as well as industrial minerals such as cement material, gypsum, feldspar, quartz, mica and many others.
The energy policy was approved in 2010 and it is currently being reviewed and updated by the Ministry, the Somaliland Energy Policy promotes in fostering international partnership in trade and investment in the Energy Sector, while the Somaliland Electrical Energy Bill was developed by the Ministry and has been passed by the Legislature, but dug to missing important chapters, the President suggested for an amendment and currently the amended version of the act has been sent back to the parliament for final approval. The Ministry developed interim sets of regulations such as licensing, minimum technical health and safety standards and electrical power distribution network expansion guidelines.
As a result of many workshops conducted by the Ministry and consultative meetings held for the private electricity service providers (ESPs), their level of education and awareness has increased and that resulted in the ESPs to merge to get economics of scale in order to provide better service to customers.
The Ministry has also established a well-organized coordination mechanism among the Energy Sector stake holders to develop the institutional, regulatory as well as infrastructural requirements of the energy sector.
Under the Ministry’s direction and oversight, multiple energy programs are ongoing in the country that include a major program called Energy Security and Resource efficiency program (ESRES) funded by DFID. The main purpose of the ESRES project is to improve the access of affordable electricity for vulnerable communities through the promotion and usage of renewable energy technologies.
The project entailed building six hybrid mini-grid projects in six Somaliland towns (Gabiley, Borama, Sheikh, Burao, Buhodle, and Badhan) and was completed this year – 2018. The project contributed a total of 2.700 KW of additional power to these towns, resulting in adding 10,307 new connections.
The project also created 487 positions of temporary and permanent employment.
With assistance from the UAE government, the Ministry was able to equip three government facilities, namely the Presidency, the Ministry of Energy and Minerals and the Ministry of Information with modern solar power systems that will meet the energy needs of these facilities at a major cost savings to the government.
Similarly, a 5-year USAID funded project termed Growth Economic Employment and Livelihood program (GEEL) is overseen by the Ministry and is designed to promote and facilitate inclusive economic growth in Republic of Somaliland. The project is currently focusing on supporting the agricultural sector, fisheries sector, fisheries and renewable energy.
Another successfully completed project managed by the Ministry was, the Somaliland Energy Transformation Program (SET) funded by the EU which focused on isolated villages, in Somaliland.
Targeted rural communities were supported with the installation of solar-powered pumping systems for shallow wells and boreholes, many schools and healthcare centers (MCH) were also powered with Solar PC system to provide electricity.
The Ministry is implementing a Power Master Plan for the entire country and in particular the capital city, Hargeisa. The objective of the Project which is funded by the World Bank is to produce credible power master plan for Somaliland to guide the introduction and establishment of modern cost-effective reliable electricity supply systems for the country over a 20 year planning period.
In conclusion, it is the aspiration of Somaliland as a nation and the priority of the current government to enhance our meager economy and increase production by exploiting our natural resources for the benefit of our people. This will to a large extent require investment of foreign companies as well as the support of the international development partners. Hence, Somaliland has established transparent and conducive arrangements to attract such investors and development partners. It is imperative that we appreciate the importance of this journey and understand the transformative effect in which harnessing renewable energy resources, developing an outstanding electrical power infrastructure (transmission and distribution), finding oil or a vast deposit of minerals can have on our economy. It is, therefore, vital for us to get the support of the international development partners in the development of the electrical power sectors, harnessing renewable energy resources and the exploration efforts for oil and minerals to unearth the natural wealth buried beneath our soil.
Mr. Angus Miller, of DFID , (Sector co-chair)in speech lauded the ministry for bringing together the various stakeholders , and advised them to continue to hold similar ways. He stated that phase II of ESRES will focus on improving the system by introducing smart meters and shall collaborate with the ministry in the development of mini-grids such as where, when what size and who will be targeted.
Eng. Liban Mohamed , the director of energy department presented the ongoing activities of Somaliland energy sector, starting by current review process of the national energy policy , giving an overview of the policy , the energy policy goal and its objectives. After the director of energy department briefed the participants of the key achievements since the launch of ESCF 3 that included the update of the electrical energy act emphasizing the new structure of the proposed act development of the best practice guidelines for electrical distribution system, ERC establishment, coordination activities (working groups. The director also presented other achievements of the sector which includes the energy sector strategy for NDP II 2017-2021, enhancing the level of awareness and education for ESPs and government coordination to development partners funded programmes and project.
Mr. Abdifatah Omer, the director of planning department at MoEM presented the prioritized outcomes of the energy and extractives sector of the national development plan II, the draft of the prioritized outcome, which are broken down into outputs.
Mr. Randall Nottingham, ERSEs team leader presented the project summary achievements and lessons learned during phase 1. He highlighted the significant contributions the project made to the mini-grids projects. In addition to that, he presented the overall gains regarding to the policy and regulatory framework.
He also presented the key lessons learned in phase 1 and the need of more reliable data for system design , investment in renewable energy which reduces generation costs and the need to address issues of tariffs structure in addition to just rates in a bid to fully realize programme benefits , particularly for the poorest consumers and finally maintaining and building strong relationships with relationships with stakeholders is essential for the programme success.