SADC to add 32,000MW to power grid

> Tichaona Owen Kurewa

HARARE- SOUTHERN Africa anticipates to commission new power projects that will add 32,695MW to the region by 2022, as countries move to meet demand sparked by industrialisation, increased population, among other things, the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) said in its annual report for 2016.

Statistics released by SAPP show that the power pool was expecting 4,570MW in 2017, an additional 4,333MW next year and 3,607MW in 2019, with more expected until 2022.

The power plants will generate electricity using wind, solar and hydro power.

According to SAPP, Zimbabwe will add 4,517MW to the regional grid by 2022, while Namibia and Zambia will add 1,030 MW and 3,648 MW, respectively.

Tanzania will contribute 3,190MW, Swaziland 312MW, South Africa 10,653MW, Mozambique 3,460MW and Malawi 116MW. The Democratic Republic of Congo will chip in 608MW, Botswana 420MW and Angola 3,742MW.

Lesotho is the only member state, which is not expected to bring in any new generation by 2022.

SAPP currently has an installed capacity of 61,894MW, while operating capacity stands at 46,959MW against demand and reserve of 52,542MW.

Taking into account generation capacity reserve requirements, the generation capacity shortfall stands at 5,583 MW.

In the past 12 years, SAPP commissioned 15,468MW new generation at an average rate of 1,219 MW per annum.

Commenting on this development, an economic analyst, Emmanuel Mambo, said power was the backbone for economic growth.

“Power is part of the critical infrastructure that every economy requires to attract investment and aid economic growth.

“It will be a major coup for the region if it can within the next five years attain such a feat given the complexities in not only establishing, but funding such projects,” Mambo said.

“Investors in industries such as mining and manufacturing cannot even consider setting up shop in regions facing power deficits.”

Mambo said power availability can also lure investors.

“Such a major development will no doubt add to the attractiveness of the region in terms attracting foreign direct investment in just about all economic sectors,” he said.

Over the past years, Mambo said, most countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region have been battling power shortage, which has impacted negatively on performance of the regional economy.

Most Southern African countries are making strides to improve power generation in the region with numerous projects at various levels of completion in SADC.

SAPP was created with the primary aim to provide reliable and economical electricity supply to the consumers of each of the SAPP members, consistent with the reasonable utilisation of natural resources and the effect on the environment.

January 2017
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