JUBA, Dec. 4 (Xinhua)-- A Chinese energy expert on Wednesday urged South Sudan to prioritize long-term investment in hydropower dams in order to expand its nascent power sector to drive its development.
Wang Cun, executive director of PowerChina in South Sudan, told Xinhua that the youngest country's development plans are better served by developing hydropower on the White Nile which is clean and less costly compared to the recently commissioned 100MW power plant which is fueled by diesel.
"Power sector is very important for the development of South Sudan because without power South Sudan cannot industrialize. I think that power and road construction, are the priorities for South Sudan to develop but first you have to realize peace because without peace people will fear to invest," Wang told Xinhua in an interview in Juba.
He disclosed that the current power capacity in South Sudan was not enough as there are only three power stations in Wau, Malakal and Juba which cannot supply the needs of the country.
PowerChina has nearly completed work on the Juba Power Distribution System Rehabilitation and Expansion Project, funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) since 2016.
The Chinese company recently finished the erection of medium voltage and low voltage poles that will supply 100 megawatts of power from the Ezra power plant.
"This Juba power distribution network is the first effective network for this country, and that power plant on the east bank of the Nile River is the first modernized power plant which is using crude oil and the cost of this power is high," said Wang.
"According to our observation hydropower is the best option for this country to develop. Hydropower is cheap and clean. Investment in hydropower is costly but in the future the cost lowers. This country is very rich in water resources," he added.
South Sudan plans to construct five dams by 2035 which include the Grand Fula, Bedden, Lakki and Shukole with a total capacity of 2010 MW.
Wang revealed that when constructed these hydropower dams will help stimulate the development of the country which is currently seeking recovery from more than five years of conflict since the outbreak in December 2013.
"It (Power) can be enough for South Sudan and also for export to neighboring countries," he said.
Wang cautioned that before South Sudan embarks on these ambitious power projects it must first build its power distribution and transmission network.
"But you need to plan very well the (power) generation, distribution and transmission should be there. Without power station you can't get power and without transmission, you cannot transmit power and without the distribution network people will not enjoy the power," he said.