At the 29th SAPP management committee meeting, which started in Namibia on Thursday, Nathaniel Maphate, chairman of the SAPP management committee, announced that SAPP would be investing in 6 700MW additional generation capacity.

The yearly meeting serves as a platform where member utilities can exchange ideas on power planning, system operation and environmental issues within the SADC community.

This year’s meeting, is specifically focussed on the power shortages facing the region and strategies for addressing this issue.

Electricity consumption is growing at a rate of 4.2 percent, putting strain on current capacity. With an increase in consumption expected in the run up to the 2010 World Cup, being hosted in South Africa, and as a result, any investment would be a collective effort to meet demand ahead of 2010.

NamPower has already teamed up with other utilities in the investment and rehabilitation of the Hwange Power Station in Zimbabwe.

Paulinus Shilamba, NamPower’s MD says the first phase of the Hwange project should be completed by December 2007, with the third and final phase due for completion in August 2008.

Nambia has also embarked on a demand side management, energy saving campaign, with the aim of distributing 900 000 compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), with an estimated saving of 20MW.

"We believe that these arrangements will, in the interim, augment our power supply as well as spur us to implement our medium- to long-term projects," Shilamba said.

Another pressing problem within the region was limits on transmission capacity and in order to address this issue, NamPower has decided to establish a 970 km Caprivi transmission line between Gerus (near Otjiwarongo) and Zambezi (near Kaima Mulilo).

This line will not only connect the Caprivi region to the national grid, but serve as a link between northern parts of SADC and South Africa.