SADC working to increase power generation and transmission
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) continues to seek ways of increasing power generation across the region to surpass the 3,595 megawatts, out of a targeted 4,000 megawatts, contributed in 2019 by Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Tanzania.
The region envisions integrated and quality seamless infrastructure and networks, including improved capacity for construction, maintenance and operation of affordable regional infrastructure and services.
As part of the measures to increase power generating in the Region and given the nexus between energy and development, SADC Ministers of Energy recently met to consider various energy projects.
Among key issues, the ministers approved a draft agreement to amend the SADC Protocol on Energy of 1996 and recommended legal clearance of the draft by the ministers responsible for Justice and Attorneys General, and subsequent submission to the Council of Ministers for consideration and approval in March 2021.
To enhance investments in power projects in the region, the ministers responsible for Energy approved the Market and Investment Framework for SADC Power Projects as an instrument to guide investors who want to venture into power generation and transmission projects.
The ministers commended progress achieved on the roadmap for finalisation of the review and amendment of the protocol, which is based on 10 principles under which Member States work collectively to ensure that energy in different forms is used efficiently to support economic growth and sustainable development; utilise energy to promote self-reliance; and promote and encourage participation of citizens, communities and the private sector in the development of energy infrastructure and services.
The rationale for review of the Protocol on Energy of 1996 is based on eliminating inconsistencies, correcting inadequacies, emerging institutional reforms and promoting private sector participation in infrastructure development.
The amendment of the protocol is expected to unlock value in the energy sector in the region, resulting in more private players coming on board with infrastructure projects in energy and power generation.
SADC is targetting to commission 16,515 megawatts of new electricity generation capacity over the next three years as the region moves to strengthen its energy infrastructure as an enabler for its industrialisation agenda. Of that amount, nearly 5,900 megawatts is expected to come from South Africa, while Tanzania plans to commission about 4,900 megawatts. Other significant contributions to the regional power pool are expected from Angola (2,499 megawatts) and Zambia (1,186 megawatts).
However, of the 16,515 megawatt additional generation capacity planned for commissioning, only 9,731 MW, or about 59% will be available to the regional grid since SADC is not yet fully integrated for energy trading.
All mainland SADC Member States, with the exception of Angola, Malawi and Tanzania, are interconnected through the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP) regional grid, allowing them to share surplus energy. New generation capacity installed in any of the three non-participating countries is not accessible to the nine other members of SAPP – Botswana, the DRC, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The Angola Namibia Interconnector is at feasibility studies stage and is also expected to be commissioned by 2022 following expression of commitment by the two Member States by signing the inter-governmental Memorandum of Understanding.
To unlock and leverage the development of the interconnector projects, SAPP is undertaking, with support from the World Bank, a study on establishment of a Regional Transmission Infrastructure Financing Facility. The recommendations of the study are expected to be presented to the Council of Ministers for consideration and approval in March 2021.
The SADC Secretariat is advocating for the development of the Western transmission corridor along the DRC, Angola, Namibia and Botswana, the Central transmission corridor along South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania and the Eastern corridor along South Africa, Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania.