Sudan Table of Contents
The only sizable area of the country having electric power available to the public was the central region along the Blue Nile from Khartoum south to Ad Damazin. The central region in the early 1990s accounted for approximately 87 percent of Sudan's total electricity consumption. The area was served by the country's only major interconnected generating and distributing system, the Blue Nile Grid. This system provided power to both the towns and the irrigation projects in the area, including the Gezira Scheme. Another small, local, interconnected system furnished power in the eastern part of the country that included Al Qadarif, Kassala, and Halfa al Jadidah. The remaining customers were in fewer than twenty widely scattered towns having local diesel-powered generating facilities: Shandi, Atbarah, and Dunqulah in the north; Malakal, Juba, and Waw in the south; Al Fashir and Nyala in Darfur; Al Ubayyid and Umm Ruwabah in Kurdufan; a few towns along the White Nile south of Khartoum; and Port Sudan. About fifty other urban centers in outlying regions, each having populations of more than 5,000, still did not have a public electricity supply in 1982, the latest year for which statistical information was available. Rural electrification was found only in some of the villages associated with the main irrigation projects.
Approximately 75 percent of the country's total electric power was produced by the Public Electricity and Water Corporation (PEWC), a state enterprise. The remaining 25 percent was generated for self-use by various industries including foodprocessing and sugar factories, textile mills, and the Port Sudan refinery. Private and PEWC electricity generation increased about 50 percent in the 1980s, to an estimated 900 gigawatt hours in 1989 in attempts to counter frequent cuts in electric power. PEWC also handled all regular electricity distribution to the public. In 1989 PEWC power stations had a total generating capacity of 606 megawatts, of which about 53 percent was hydroelectric and the remainder thermal.
The largest hydroelectric plant was at Roseires Dam on the Blue Nile; it had a capacity of 250 megawatts. Other hydroelectric stations were located at the Sennar Dam farther downstream and at Khashm al Qirbah Dam on the Atbarah River; the latter was part of the small power grid in the Al Qadarif-Kassala area. The Sennar and Roseires dams were constructed originally to provide irrigation, Sennar in 1925 and Roseires in 1966. Electric-power generating facilities were added only when increasing consumer demands had made them potentially viable (Sennar in 1962 and Roseires in 1971), yet power generation in Sudan has never satisfied actual needs.
The Blue Nile Grid, in addition to its Roseires and Sennar hydroelectric plants, had thermal plants at Burri in eastern Khartoum, where work on a 40-megawatt extension began in 1986, and in Khartoum North, where a 60-megawatt thermal station began operation in 1985. In the late 1980s, two additional stations producing 40 to 60 megawatts each were under consideration for Khartoum North.
The demand for electricity on the Blue Nile system increased greatly in the late 1970s, and power shortages have been acute from 1978 onward. Shortages have been blamed in part on management inefficiency and lack of coordination between the PEWC and irrigation authorities and other government agencies. Demand continued to grow strongly during the 1980s as development projects were completed and became operational and the population of the Three Towns increased dramatically. New generating facilities were completed in 1986 under the Power III Project, almost doubling generating capacity in the Blue Nile Grid. The project included work on the Roseires units, funded by IDA, and on the Burri and Khartoum North installations, funded by the British Overseas Development Administration. In 1983, recognizing the need for more electricity the government began seeking support for the Power IV Project to be funded by the World Bank, the African Development Bank, and the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) to bring the entire electrical system up to its full generating capacity. The plan was later scaled back from the initial cost of US$100 million and renamed Power V Project.
Data as of June 1991
Sudan Table of Contents