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USTDA Holds Interoperability Workshop organized by ANSI under U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Standards Program in Rwanda


On October 2, 2018 the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) hosted the "Standards to Promote Interoperability: Interconnection Code Compliance & Corrective Actions" workshop in Kigali, Rwanda. The workshop was organized by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) under the USTDA-funded U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Standards Program (CESP), was co-hosted by the Rwanda Energy Group (REG), and was co-located with the African Electrotechnical Standardisation Commission’s (AFSEC) 3rd Africa Smart Grid Forum.

The workshop attracted more than 90 participants, including attendees from 14 African countries. The event provided a thorough background of the current state of play for Rwanda’s transmission system and plans for the continuing expansion of interconnections within the Eastern Africa Power Pool (EAPP). To augment these plans, transmission system experts and manufacturers provided detailed information on standards-related and technical solutions to support the viability and management of existing and future interconnections.

The workshop featured nine expert speakers from the U.S. and Rwanda. These experts included eight U.S. speakers from Eaton, Electrical Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), IEEE, General Electric (GE), Motorola, Nexant, and Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL), as well as one speaker from REG.

This event complements Power Africa’s efforts to support Rwanda and other EAPP members’ goals to create an interconnected regional power system. Presentations focused on standards and technical regulations to bolster the reliability and day-to-day operations of the transmission system within Rwanda and the EAPP.

Presentations and photos from the workshop are available on the CESP website:

Background on Rwanda and EAPP

Over the past two decades, Rwanda has made significant investments in the area of energy proliferation. Since 2000, access to electricity has increased from 2 percent to 40.5 percent of Rwanda’s population. Despite substantial progress, major challenges and shortfalls exist.

Rwanda is a landlocked country with rugged topography and high population growth rates that impose major strains on the country’s limited natural resources—as demonstrated by high levels of land and wetland degradation, deforestation, and loss of bio-diversity. These limitations contribute to increased energy costs, which are transferred to high costs of doing business and encumbered economic development.

Reducing infrastructure-related costs of doing business, especially the high cost of electricity and low level of energy production, will relieve constraints on the Rwandan economy. With an electricity generation capacity of 210.9 megawatts for a population of nearly 12 million, the government of Rwanda has emphasized the need for a significant rise in energy investment led by the private sector to meet national targets for increased manufacturing, industrialization, and the creation of a robust service sector. As the private sector becomes more involved in energy generation, transmission, and distribution, the importance of standards and technical regulations to support and harmonize energy access will also grow.

Across Africa, regional power pools help integrate power systems and create more robust power grids. The integration of electricity systems facilitates the transfer of electricity across micro-grids, national grids, and across national borders, and is becoming increasingly important. This integration relies on the harmonization and consistent use of international standards for technologies and operating practices across the power pool. In order for Rwanda to rapidly scale up electricity access, it will need to meet the standards and technical requirements outlined in the EAPP interconnection code and international best practices. As the country continues to scale up, a plan for connection or integration will need to be in place to ensure current and new systems do not hinder grid stability.

The U.S.-Africa Clean Energy Standards Program (CESP) and ANSI

The event was the third of five workshops coordinated by ANSI under the second phase of the USTDA-funded U.S.-Africa CESP. The remaining workshops in this phase will likely focus on mini-grids and interconnection codes.

The CESP provides a platform for industry and government representatives from the U.S. and Sub-Saharan Africa to cooperate on standardization issues relevant to clean energy technologies and build the relationships necessary for further technical exchange. CESP also supports Power Africa’s objectives, helping create an enabling environment and capacity of governments and private sector entities to increase both on-grid and off-grid energy access.

Organizations interested in co-sponsoring a CESP workshop are invited to complete the commercial benefit questionnaire here for review and approval by USTDA.

For more information on the U.S.-Africa CESP and the “Standards to Promote Interoperability” workshop, including access to the presentations, agenda, photos, and flyer, please visit


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