Maun, Botswana — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 11 July 2011 – Southern African nations need to agree on a common operational system to manage energy in the region, or they will experience power shortages leading to economic deficits.
Reporting from here, allAfrica.com attributes this standpoint to environmental experts from the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) “’ an ambitious regional initiative encouraging electricity sharing and the sale of surplus power to neighbours in need. The aim is to expand regional trade in electricity, thereby reducing energy costs and providing greater stability. But lack of co-operation between member countries has hampered the smooth operation of the project.
“Our governments have been trying to harmonise the system, but complex inter-governmental negotiations are drawing out the process,” said Mellon Chinjila, chief environmental officer at the Zambian power utility Zesco Limited.
He said some progress had been made. “The SAPP is in the process of constructing a new power line that will connect South Africa with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) via Namibia and Zambia. This should de-congest the existing line that is running at full capacity further east from the DRC through Zambia and Zimbabwe to South Africa,” Chinjila stated.
Catherine Fedorsky of the Energy Research Centre of the University of Cape Town agreed that a regional power pool was important. “A pool arrangement will determine the day-to-day and hour-to-hour plan of what is happening, and that way there can be better use of electricity” she explained.