SADC Sees End to Energy Crisis

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By Petronella Sibeene

WINDHOEK

The SADC Secretariat says the worrying energy security situation in Southern Africa could be overcome in the next three years.

The Director of Infrastructure and Services, Remigius Makumbe, who recently attended the SADC Integrated Committee of Ministers Meeting in the capital, expressed this view.

He said by 2010 SADC countries are expected to overcome the crisis.
The current shortfall is estimated at 1 000 megawatts which constitutes a shortfall of 2.5 percent based on the current demand of 42 000 megawatts.

Cities in most countries in the region have in the past few years been plagued with power cuts and that has been a cause of growing concern. Countries have had to resort to load shedding to meet an increased demand for both domestic and industrial use.

Makumbe said looking at the roadmap developed by the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), the energy problem would be overcome by 2010 and by 2013 the region will enjoy adequate energy resources including a 10 percent reserve margin.

These projections, he added, are based on the anticipated commissioning of a number of planned generation and transmission projects.

Realised in 1995, SAPP was created with the primary aim to provide reliable and economic electricity supply to the consumers in the region.

The Inga project is one initiative that will contribute to the realization of the anticipated power security in the region.

The gigantic multi-billion dollar Western Corridor project commonly known as the Congo project is envisaged to satiate the region’s power deficit.

The mammoth N$30-billion project would link Namibia to many energy sources and in the process diversify its power project.

A 400-kilowatt line will run from Inga to Angola before stretching to Namibia at Auas where the NamPower station is located. From Auas, the line will run to Gaborone in Botswana via Mpumalanga in South Africa, to link up with the line going to Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Another line from Auas will link the Cape areas of South Africa. The entire project is jointly owned by five utilities, namely SNEL of the DRC, ENE of Angola, Botswana Power Corporation, Eskom of South Africa, and Nampower of Namibia.

Apart from the ongoing regional power projects, Makumbe said: “The region is also facilitating the development of other energy resources like biomass energy and bio-fuels to augment the power sector capacity.”

Locally, NamPower is working towards the completion of the Caprivi Link Interconnector.

In a recent interview with the NamPower Managing Director Paulinus Shilamba, he said this project is likely to be fully operational by 2009.

The Caprivi Link Interconnector will be a 400 MW bipolar scheme, upgradeable to 600 MW with minimal downtime.

It will comprise of a 970 km High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) bipolar line with earth return which will connect the new converter stations at Zambezi Transmission Station located near Katima Mulilo, with Gerus Transmission Station located between Otjiwarongo and Outjo.

The operating voltage of this bipolar line will be ??????’??

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