In Johannesburg, energy ministers attending the 34th Meeting of the SADC expressed concern over the continuing capacity shortfall of electricity in the region, reported the Swazi Observer on Friday.
The SADC region is planning to commission 2,763MW in the next six months mainly from the Democratic Republic of Congo (430MW); Mozambique (205MW); South Africa (1,828MW); Tanzania (150MW); Zambia (135MW); and Zimbabwe (15MW).
In addition, projects beginning in the next three to four years will bring the amount of capacity under construction in sub-Saharan Africa to 24,000MW, Remmy Makumbe, SADC’s director of infrastructure, told reporters attending the meeting.
Makumbe said: “The region is facing a power shortage. Given the projects that are on the go, we expect that we will be able to bridge that particular gap by 2018-2019.”
The SADC ministers also resolved to fast track implementation of priority regional transmission projects in order to connect Angola, Malawi and Mozambique.
The projects include the Zambia-Tanzania-Kenya Interconnector, the Mozambique-Malawi Interconnector, and the Namibia-Angola Interconnector.
According to the Swazi Observer, progress has been made on the Zimbabwe-Zambia-Botswana-Namibia Transmission Project as well as Mozambique-Zimbabwe-South Africa , which are meant to relieve congestion on the regional grid to facilitate electricity trade.
Grand Inga hydropower MoU
During the meeting, South Africa was advised to accelerate signing of the Inter Governments Memoranda of Understanding for future evacuation of power from the Grand Inga hydropower scheme to South Africa and neighbouring member states.
Cost reflective tariffs
Of the 15 SADC member states, 12 have introduced regulatory oversight in the form of an energy or electricity regulatory agency and the remaining member states are currently at various stages of the process.
However in terms of regulation, the SADC ministers attending the meeting noted that so far only Namibia and Tanzania have reached cost reflective tariffs.
The time frame to reach full cost reflective tariffs was therefore readjusted to 2019.
According to Swaziland Electricity Company Managing Director Sengiphile Simelane, Swaziland generates 302GWh, which is 20% of the country’s total power supply and imports 860GWh from South Africa and Mozambique, report the Swazi Observer.
Simelane further added that the country needs about 223MW of electricity in order to be self- sufficient, while it currently has the capacity to generate 69MW.
Renewable energy centre
The establishment of a SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency was approved and it was agreed that Namibia should host the centre.
The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation and Austrian Development Agency have pledged financial support for the first three years, thereafter the centre should be self-sustaining.
Countries represented at the meeting were Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.