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Plans to avert Southern African energy crisis as demand outstrips supply in SADC region

The 11-year-old Southern African Power Pool (Sapp) has put several measures in place to avert an impending regional energy crisis.
Zimbabwe-based Musaba says that the crisis has arisen as a result of  demand for electricity outstripping supply in the Southern African  Development Community (SADC). He says that this is the consequence of  investment in power-generation capacity in the past ten to fifteen  years not keeping pace with demand, which has been increasing at a  rate of 3% a year over the same period, and steadily diminishing  surplus power-generation capacity. Musaba warns that Southern African
regional energy demand would not be met next year and, perhaps, not  even in the year after, which would restrict economic growth and
negatively affect attainment of Africa's millennium development goals.

To avert an impending energy crisis, he reports that Sapp has  formulated priority project listing to act as a guideline to  public-sector and private-sector investors. The priority projects  agreed are:

  • Rehabilitation and associated infrastructure projects, most of which  are under construction and scheduled for completion before the end of  2007, which will add 3 200 MW of power to the SADC grid at a cost  estimated at $1,4-billion.
  • Short-term generation projects, for which feasibility studies and  environmental impact assessments have been completed, some securing  funding, others not. Once completed by 2010/11, these short-term  projects would add about 4 200 MW at $3,8-billion.
  • Short-term transmission projects, the strategy for which is to  support interconnectors that meet the criteria for interconnecting the  three non operating members ?Angola, Malawi and Tanzania. Musaba  reports that the reinforcement of the 220-kV DRC?Zambia interconnector  is expected to increase the power transfer capacity from the  Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to Zambia and to increase trade  between the DRC and the countries of Southern Africa. Work on this  line is still in progress. The Zambian Electricity Supply Corporation  energised the 220-kV Zambia?Namibia interconnector in August 2006,  which is being performance-monitored. The line is meant to increase  the security of supply to the northern part of Namibia from Zambia.
  • Medium term to long-term generation projects to supply power to the  SADC region, including the Western Power Corridor Project (Westcor),  which is expected to move some 4 000 MW of power from Inga Three, in  the DRC, to Southern Africa and to pick up 6 500 MW of generation at  Kwanza river, in Angola.
Project implementing agents, mostly the national powerutilities of the  SADC region, are aware that different projects require different  funding arrangements such as the public, private and public-private  from sources including the World Bank, the African Development Bank  and the Southern African Development Bank.


Additional information: Full article at Engineerng Week
News date: 06/10/2006

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