by Kaela Siame, Director, Kafue Gorge Regional Training Centre, Zambia 

Electricity markets are being actively implemented in many countries and experiences of acting in such markets are gained. Competition in the same markets has brought about the renewed utilization of Generation, Transmission and Distribution assets, with the aim of enhancing profitability and increasing their value to the owners.

ClassroomThe whole of Africa will be having a marked energy deficiency which has begun and will go on beyond 2011 due to low investment in the energy sector. The regional electricity utilities whether private or parastatal were needless to say created with the primary aim to provide reliable and economical electricity supply to the consumers, consistent with the reasonable utilization of natural resources and the effect on the environment.

The active electricity market, in order to be taken to higher heights requires massive injection of investment to provide adequate supply due to very high demands brought about by population growth and rapid economic growth.

By 2005, the short term generation projects, projected by the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) had a capacity of 11, 564 MW based in Hydro, Coal, Gas and Thermal. These were effectively projected to be completed by 2010.

In the same period, the long term Generation projects, projected through SAPP had a capacity of 31, 743 MW and to be completed between 2010 and 2024.

The larger part of these projected were to be 65% in hydro power development. In all these scenarios in which private and parastatal organizations are involved in electricity trading, generation, transmission and distribution, the core of their existence depends on there being adequate human resources capacity.

Do the southern, central and the rest of Africa have the skilled and qualified human resources to plan, and implement all these highly technical and financial demanding and challenging fields to avoid the current problems being experienced?

There is a definite need for all private and parastatal organizations to invest in training of the highly required deficient skills. Some of the areas which could be identified through training needs assessments and analysis are:

  1. Hydropower Scheduling – short and long term 
  2. Energy Efficiency and Resource Efficiency 
  3. Energy Efficiency in the Power Grid 
  4. Energy Conservation 
  5. Transmission System losses 
  6. Energy Trading
  7. Key Performance Indicators
  8. Power System Planning
  9. Project Planning, Evaluation and Monitoring
  10. Operation and Maintenance

These are some which can be provided as training in-house and in-service by most of the available training providers in the region.

There is need that private and parastatal organizations invest in continuous professional development of employees in order to avoid poor supply of services to consumers due to inadequate updated and upgraded human resources (Manpower).