ZIZABONA: Solution to SADC power deficit
“The ZIZABONA project mooted by Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia will allow the four countries to export or import more power and to trade energy with each other”
Windhoek – SADC member states need to take urgent steps in completing the ZIZABONA interconnector if there is any hope of averting a looming power deficit in the next three years.
Countries including South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Mozambique and Botswana are hard pressed with power shortages and have been battling to cater for their domestic demand.
The ZIZABONA project mooted by Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia will allow the four countries to export or import more power and to trade energy with each other.
This is expected to erase congestions on North-South transmission corridor through Zimbabwe to South Africa, the North-South corridor in South Africa between Matimba power station and Cape Town as well reduce transmission losses and improve efficiency.
Analysts have indicated that ZIZABONA is a technically feasible solution to power deficit in the region.
According to last presentations by the member states in Swakopmund, Namibia – ZIZABONA will create a new Western Transmission Corridor in the regional grid and is a priority project identified by the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP)
Projects catered for in ZIZABONA include Ithezi-thezi (120MW), Kariba North Ext (360MW), Maamba (initially 300MW but with expansion) and other hydro projects.
Eskom (150MW) and NamPower (100MW) are envisaged to sign ‘take-or pay’ wheeling agreements.
The ZIZABONA Business case is supported by increased reliability of supply, increased utilisation of assets and achievement of SAPP development objectives.
In his presentation on how Namibia would deal with the power deficit to mining experts recently NamPower, Managing Director Paulinus Shilamba said, “Progress in the ZIZABONA project remain vital in curtailing power problems in future.”
Among the countries with ability to help ZIZABONA progress, Zambia has significant hydro and thermal potential in process of being developed. A portion may be exported to Namibia and South Africa (Northern Cape Province) via ZIZABONA and NamPower’s transmission system.
Mozambique has significant hydro generation potential which may be delivered to buyers in the region while Botswana has significant potential to generate competitively priced thermal power in the medium to longer term.
South Africa (Eskom) is committed to buying clean energy from the region, provided that price and reliability of supply are acceptable – injection of power into SA grid in Northern Cape has locational benefits. In the longer term, NamPower may utilise ZIZABONA to export surplus power while supply deficit in Zimbabwe represents major medium term opportunity
In the long term, a number of credible combinations of sellers and buyers exist, which are interested in making use of ZIZABONA succeeds.
The long-term scope for expanding ZIZABONA capacity from 300MW (initially) to 600MW (fully developed) is considered good and sponsors are committed to develop the project on a commercial basis.