Speaking at ongoing Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP) conference in Zimbabwe’s capital city Bulawayo, minister of energy and power development, Samuel Undenge, noted that the region has been operating under a generation supply deficit for almost a decade now.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) therefore intends to increase its electricity generation capacity by 30,000MW, derived from new projects in the next five years, the Chronicle reported.
“The current installed generation capacity in the SAPP amounts to 58,000MW; out of this about 47,000MW is operating against a demand of around 53,000MW, giving an operational deficit of around 6,000MW,” Undenge noted.
The minister lamented the slow pace of commissioning of the projects, he however hoped that the supply deficit would likely be defeated by 2022, media reported.
SADC member states pulling efforts
Undenge said: “We take cognisance of and applaud the various efforts being put by all SADC member states that will result in around 30,000MW of new generation capacity being commissioned between 2017 and 2022.”
Among the new projects is the proposed $4 billion Batoka Gorge project to be executed by both Zimbabwe and Zambia. These two projects are anticipated to add up to 24,000MW. Additional capacity is also expected from the 600MW Hwange units 7 and 8 expansion as well as the 300MW Kariba South expansion, in which Zambia will also be undertaking the project.
Media reported that Minister Undenge also noted that the prevailing power deficit in the region required collective efforts and quick action in implementing resolutions on power generation and transmission projects as stipulated in the SAPP strategic plans.
Transmission projects equally important
The minister said while notable progress has been made in implementing generation projects, the same could be said of transmission projects, media reported.
Undenge said transmission projects are critical in evacuating power from generation sources to various load centres within the region.
“In 2016 alone, 66% of the energy that was matched and available for trading on the competitive market could not be traded due to transmission constraints,” he highlighted.