WALVIS BAY – Due to decades of under-investment in the energy sector, many SADC countries are engulfed in a crippling energy crisis that is threatening to derail years of steady economic growth, the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) gathering was briefed.
Sixty delegates are attending the four-day SAPP meeting that ends today at Walvis Bay where they are strategizing on how best to mitigate the SADC region’s power crisis.
Addressing the meeting that started on Tuesday Namibia’s Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy, Willem Isaack, expressed great concern over the delay of critical power projects in the region during the 41st Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) executive management committee meeting that ends at Walvis Bay today.
Isaack went on to say that the past decade would go down in the region’s history as a decade characterized by the high demand for electricity and numerous load-shedding.
“This precarious power situation in SADC requires enormous investment in generation and transmission infrastructure development,” stated the deputy minister.
He indicated that SADC countries are scrambling to secure permanent supplies of electricity amid acute power crises, which analysts say have already curtailed investment and sharply cut down economic output especially in the robust mining and agriculture sectors that are regarded as the main business sectors of many African countries.
Besides the above it is encouraging to note that during the last five years utilities in the region have been extremely busy with significant power development efforts aimed at alleviating imminent power shortages, stated Isaack.
Also speaking at the same conference, SAPP management committee chairperson Julian Chinembiri underscored the importance of the Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibian Transmission Project (ZIZABONA) and Central Transmission Corridor (CTC) as critical projects that would increase energy trading in the SADC region.
He also highlighted the implementation of generation and transmission projects by SAPP as important and vital to the region to increase depressed reserve margins of electricity and reduce load shedding that scares away investors.
SAPP was created in August 1995 when ministers responsible for energy in SADC signed an inter-government MoU that led to the creation of a power pool under the name, Southern African Power Pool (SAPP).
The aim is to optimize the use of available energy resources in the region and support one another during emergencies. The interconnection of the northern and southern networks created a platform for regional trade and cooperation.
By Eveline de Klerk