27 September 2013 – Electricity demand in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region is rising at 2.5 annually, and the region currently has a shortfall of 7.7 GW. The available regional generation capacity is 51,702 MW against a demand of 59,144 MW.

“The SADC region will have sufficient generation capacity reserves after 2016, if all projects are commissioned as planned. A total of 19,000 MW of new generation is expected to be commissioned between 2013 and 2016, of which 3% will be renewable energy,” Namibia’s deputy minister of mines and energy Willem Isaack is reported as saying in the Namibian.

He says that the past decade will go down in the history of SADC as a decade characterised by the highest demand for electricity and load-shedding. “SADC countries are scrambling to secure permanent supplies of electricity, amidst these regional power crises. Due to decades of under-investment in the energy sector, SADC countries have found themselves at the receiving end of a biting energy crisis, which is threatening to derail years of solid economic growth.”

During the last five years, utilities in SADC have nonetheless been extremely busy with power development efforts, aimed at alleviating imminent power shortages. However, to avoid the electricity shortfalls experienced during 2007 to 2008, regional integration is required in all sectors, including energy, as well as identifying those bottlenecks blocking or derailing the completion of much- needed electricity-generating projects.