The SADC is encouraged to invest more in renewables as they are better alternatives than hydro and thermal power generation
The SADC is encouraged to invest more in renewables as they are better alternatives than hydro and thermal power generation
The SADC is encouraged to invest more in renewables as they are better alternatives than hydro and thermal power generation

In Southern Africa, experts are advising that more investments in renewables is needed as an alternative to hydropower and thermal generation.  This is largely due to irregular rainfalls across the entire Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, resulting in a drop in hydro output and increased thermal power generation costs.

This advice come amidst renewed interest in the $80 billion Grand Inga Dam in the Democratic Republic of Congo, estimated to have a generation capacity of 40,000MW.

More emphasis on research

According to the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Engineering Council, Martin Manhuwa, an initiative should be introduced aimed at promoting efficient and sustainable use of energy resources, which could be achievable through appropriate pricing policies that provide incentives for renewable energy.

Manhuwa said renewable energy policies in SADC don’t put much emphasis on research and innovation for renewable electricity generation, fuel production, heating and cooling.

“These activities will address SADC’s shared societal, industrial and environmental interests to develop sustainable economies,” he said.

“African countries struggle with financing of renewable energy projects but clear independent power producers policies and the mindset change to make policies that make investment in solar water heaters and photovoltaics compulsory in new buildings and in retrofits, will create consumers who are producers of electricity, hence easing the demand on the national grid,” he said.

Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP) co-ordination centre manager, Dr Lawrence Musaba commented: “Renewable energy is growing in SAPP. This has been more significant in South Africa where the renewable energy programme has been quite successful with Independent Power Producers playing a critical role.”

New project to be introduced

In other Southern African news, the South African Centre for Carbon Capture & Storage (SACCCS), in collaboration with the Department of Energy will host the 4th Carbon Capture and Storage Conference from 20 to 21 October 2015 in Johannesburg.

The theme of the conference is “Capacitating South Africa for CCS”.

The conference aims to addess the need to build local capacity in CCS, which will enable the country to successfully implement a pilot CO2 storage project (PCSP), states the release.