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Trading in the Southern African Power Pool and possible market coupling with the Eastern African Power Pool

Conference: East African Power Industry Convention
Location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Presenter: Willem Theron
Abstract: Presented by Willem Theron at East African Power Industry Convention

Eskom, the largest utility in Southern Africa, generates 95% of South Africa’s electricity and greater than 50% of the electricity consumed on the African continent.  Eskom is central to the SA Governments’ growth and development strategy and has the responsibility to the country to ensure that sustainable development becomes a reality. 

Eskom’s revised mandate also focuses on trading electricity in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and with utilities connected to the main transmission grid.  The challenge Eskom faces is how to get the balance between demand and supply right in an increasingly growing and developing economic region, in which there is diminished surplus generation capacity. 

Eskom is a member of SAPP (Southern Africa Power Pool) founded in 1995, now a mature alliance with numerous benefits from bilateral initiatives over the years.  By combining the coal resources of the south with hydropower of the north, a strong, integrated regional energy system has been built.  The operations of SAPP and Eskom’s perspective of the lessons learnt and challenges faced are detailed.

Comparisons of SAPP to the East African Power Pool (EAPP) are highlighted together with the interconnections needed to support the possible market coupling of the two power pools.  The ensuing diversified energy base would strengthen the investment case for both Southern and Eastern Africa.  This and other potential benefits of market coupling to both regions will be explored in the presentation. 

With the understanding that the supply of energy is the platform for regional growth and development, capacity expansion projects currently under development to reinforce the SADC regions generation capacity are detailed.  Also, future possibilities with respect to an ‘Eastcore’ and synergies with the Nile Basin Initiative will be considered.