Energy ministers in the region approved the establishment of a SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE) on Friday and agreed that Namibia should host the centre.
The decision was taken during the 34th meeting of SADC energy ministers in Johannesburg, which was attended by Deputy Mines and Energy Minister, Kornelia Shilunga, as well as other high-ranking ministry officials.
The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and Austrian Development Agency (ADA) have contributed towards the establishment of SACREEE.
While considering the power supply and demand situation in the region, SADC ministers noted with concern the current capacity shortfall of 8,247 MW. They also noted that in 2014 the mainland member states commissioned power-generation capacity amounting to only 1,999 MW.
The electricity stemmed from Angola (150 MW), South Africa (1654 MW), Mozambique (150 MW) and Zambia (245 MW). The power was sourced from rehabilitation and new projects – while about 83 per cent of that installed capacity was generated from renewable resources, such as solar, wind and hydropower.
SADC ministers further noted that the region plans to commission 2,763 MW in 2015, mainly from the Democratic Republic of Congo (430 MW), Mozambique (205 MW),
South Africa (1,828 MW) Tanzania (150 MW), Zambia (135 MW) and Zimbabwe (15MW).
They also plan to install an additional 24,062 MW of generation capacity by 2019 to address the power-generation deficit, of which 70 per cent is expected from renewable energy sources.
During the meeting the ministers further resolved to fast-track implementation of priority regional transmission projects to connect Angola, Malawi and Mozambique. The projects include the Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya (ZTK) Interconnector; Mozambique-Malawi Interconnector and the Namibia-Angola Interconnector.
They also noted progress on the Zimbabwe-Zambia-Botswana-Namibia (ZIZABONA) Transmission Project, as well as the Mozambique-Zimbabwe-South Africa (MOZISA) project.
These massive infrastructure projects are intended to relieve pressure on the regional grid and facilitate electricity trade.
SADC ministers noted that to date only Namibia and Tanzania reached cost-reflective tariffs and therefore readjusted the timeframe of their previous decision, taken in 2013, meaning all SADC countries will be expected to reach cost-reflective tariffs by 2019.
The objective of the meeting was for ministers to take stock of progress, make decisions and give guidance on implementation of the SADC’s Energy Programme, whose aim it is to facilitate and coordinate the availability of sufficient, reliable and inexpensive energy services.
The energy ministers also noted that 12 out of the 15 SADC member states have introduced regulatory oversight in the form of electricity regulatory bodies and that the remaining member states are at various stages of implementation.