Minister of Mines and Energy Obed Kandjoze says despite the slow pace in the implementation of power projects in the SADC region, he is optimistic the regional electricity deficit will be overcome by 2021.
Kandjoze was speaking at the three-day Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) executive committee meeting that concluded in Swakopmund on Friday, where he said the SADC ministers of energy continue to monitor the developments of new generation projects in the region. “With the current installed generation capacity amounting 58 000 MW, the region still faces a deficit when we look at the electricity demand and the reserve required,” he said.
He said the pace at which new projects are commissioned is still slow, but SADC remains optimistic that the region will overcome the electricity deficit by 2021.
“We take cognizance of the various efforts being put in all SADC member states that will result in 35 000 MW of new generation capacity being commissioned between 2016 and 2022,” Kandjoze said.
According to the minister, SADC recognises there are still a lot of transmission constraints affecting electricity trade among SADC member states and urged member states to ensure funds are channelled to the development of transmission projects to unclog these bottlenecks.
“The electricity trading that is taking place on the SAPP (Southern African Power Pool) Competitive Market is complementing demand from own generation resources in most countries. This platform is assisting member states to have an option to buy from the market. Over N$990 million of energy was traded in 2015/16. This is quite significant. We need to see the trading surpass these levels,” he said.
The minister also said they acknowledge the various developments and programmes being implemented in the SADC region to improve energy efficiency and save power.
“The region has embarked on various demand-side management programmes that include the replacement of incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). This has resulted in 3 300 megawatt of verified energy savings from 2009 to date,” he said.
Meanwhile, Nampa reports that Namibia and Angola will soon sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the interconnector power transmission project in an effort to boost integration of the regional power grid. With the current generation capacity amounting to 58 000 megawatt (MW), SADC still faces a deficit when it comes to electricity demand.
Kandjoze said Namibia is working closely with Angola on the preliminary studies needed before the Angola-Namibia interconnector power transmission project can proceed.
“The intergovernmental Memorandum of Understanding on this has been prepared and is under evaluation by the two governments before signature,” Kandjoze said on Thursday during the 41st SAPP conference in Swakopmund.
The project involves the construction of power transmission lines from the proposed Baynes Hydropower Plant in lower Kunene, Namibia, so as to link up with the national power grid of Angola.
The objective is to transmit power from Baynes to Angola and the SAPP and thus complement SADC’s plan to develop new power generation projects.
Kandjoze said other intergovernmental and inter-utility memoranda under review include the Botswana-Namibia and Namibia-South Africa interconnectors.
While considering the power supply and demand situation in the region, SADC member states are increasingly concerned about the current capacity shortfall of 8 247 MW.
Last year, SADC countries identified nine high priority energy transmission projects valued at approximately N$56 billion for marketing to investors.
These projects are at various stages of development and include the ZiZaBoNa Interconnector project to be implemented by Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia.
Other energy projects to be prioritised include the Central Transmission Corridor, Mozambique Backbone Project, Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya Interconnector, as well as the proposed Namibia-Angola Interconnector that will connect Tanzania and Angola to the SAPP. The SAPP coordinates the planning, generation, transmission and marketing of electricity on behalf of SADC member states.