SADC in the shadow of darkness
Gaborone ‑ The SADC region lags behind in Africa in terms of energy and electricity access because over the past 20 years there has been limited investment in the regional power sector.
SADC Executive Director of Infrastructure and Services, Remigious Makumbe, revealed this at the 33rd SADC Energy Ministers meeting in Lesotho recently.
He said there is need to take the SADC Regional Infrastructure Master Plan seriously, adding that energy ministers have an important role to play in the process of ensuring the implementation of energy components of the Master Plan.
Makumbe commended Mozambique for investing in a number of power projects, which will contribute to the regional generation capacity.
He also revealed that the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) had an available capacity of 51 702 MW against a demand of 53 833 MW inclusive of peak demand, suppressed demand and reserves.
This, he said gives a regional capacity shortfall of 7,709 MW. Electricity demand increased by a weighted average of 2.5% per annum.
A total capacity equivalent to 1 099 MW was commissioned in 2012 in Angola (340 MW), DRC (120), Namibia (92 MW), Mozambique (107), Tanzania (100 MW), South Africa (303 MW) and Zambia (37 MW) from rehabilitation and new projects. Reports indicate that the region plans to commission 2 321 MW in 2013 and that it will have sufficient generation capacity reserves after 2016.
It is also understood that a total of 17 000 MW of new generation is expected to be commissioned between 2013 and 2016 of which 3 percent will be renewable energy from wind and solar.
Ministers resolved to provide necessary government support in order to accelerate project implementation and press for completion of electricity projects, according to the planned timelines, to ensure that the stated targets are met.
The meeting also resolved to fast track implementation of interconnector and regional transmission projects such a ZIZABONA Transmission Project, Mozambique-Malawi Interconnector, Central Transmission Corridor, the Namibia-Angola Interconnector as well as Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya Interconnector with a view to complete the region’s interconnectivity and relieve the congestion on the regional grid to facilitate electricity trading.
ZIZABONA is an electricity transmission interconnector expected to develop new transmission lines to link four countries – Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia.
The ministers also noted that as far as electricity regulation is concerned, 11 out of 15 countries in the SADC region have introduced electricity regulatory oversight in the form of energy or electricity regulatory agency and that the remaining member states are at different stages of the process.
It was also noted that the SADC region could not be able to comply with the Council’s decision to reach full cost recovery tariffs by 2013.