SADC records notable progress in implementing priority interconnector power projects
There is a notable progress in the preparation and implementation of priority interconnector projects in SADC that are aimed to connect Angola, Malawi and the United Republic of Tanzania to the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) grid.
According to the progress report by the SADC Executive Secretary to the 40th SADC Summit, the Mozambique-Malawi interconnector attained financial closure and is at construction stage. The project is expected to be commissioned in 2022.
The Zambia-Tanzania interconnector is divided into several components and it is at construction phase from the Zambian side and Tanzania side where the two transmission lines are designed to converge near Nakonde Border by 2022.
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 (IGMOU).
On the north-western side of the Region, Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) are also considering to develop an interconnector project which is still at pre-feasibility stage. The SADC Secretariat is advocating for the development of the Western transmission corridor along Angola, Botswana, Namibia, and central transmission corridor along Botswana, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, and Eastern corridors along South Africa, Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania of the SAPP network in order to relieve congestion from the existing central corridor.
Moreover, in order to unlock and leverage development of the power transmission interconnector projects, backbone transmission lines as well as those linked to the new power plants, the Secretariat, in collaboration with SAPP and through support from the World Bank, is developing a study on establishment of a Regional Transmission Infrastructure Financing Facility (RTIFF).
Recommendations of the study will be presented to relevant sectoral Ministerial committees for clearance and ultimately to Council of Ministers for consideration and approval.
The operationalisation of the SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE) is ongoing and the Secretariat managed to secure signing of Inter-Governmental Memorandum of Agreement(IGMoA) by 10 Member States namely Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The next step is to sign the Host Country Agreement which will enable SACREEE to operate as a legal regional organisation based in Windhoek, Namibia
In terms of institutional and programmatic sub-activities, SACREEE also received support from a number of International Cooperating Partners (ICPs) on soft infrastructure development and technical assistance such as: the Austrian Development Agency through United Nations Development Organisation (UNIDO) on recruitment of the Executive Director of SACREEE; development of the SADC Industrial Energy Efficiency Programme (SIEEP) supported by the European Union; support of small-scale renewable energy entrepreneurs on skills development supported by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA); and Energy Efficient Lighting and Appliance (EELA) programme supported by Swedish International Development Agency (Sida). The immediate target for the EELA project is to develop Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) for the electrical appliances and equipment in the Region.
The SADC Secretariat also completed assessment of sustainability of Kafue Gorge Training Centre (KGRTC) in Kafue Gorge, Zambia, for clearance by Ministers responsible for Energy and subsequently for consideration and approval by Council of Ministers. KGRTC offers short-term training on energy courses, research and development services and hire-out conference facilities to sustain its operations. KGRTC also receives support from the Government of Zambia as part host country obligation through the national power Utility ZESCO under the Ministry of Energy.
To enhance investments in power projects in the SADC 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.
With support from the project on Enhancing of a Sustainable Regional Energy Market (ESREM) for Eastern Africa, Southern Africa and Indian Ocean (EA-SA-IO), the Secretariat undertook a study on strengthening of Regional Energy Regulators Association (RERA) of Southern Africa into Regional Energy Regulatory Authority to oversee and regulate cross-border power trading and the operations of the competitive electricity market under supervision of SAPP. ESREM is also supporting the EA-SA-IO region on development of a regional Framework for Regulatory Oversight for the Energy Market.
A majority of SADC Member States have either introduced or reviewed their lifeline tariffs and are in the process of developing pro-poor tariff subsidy mechanisms. Member States continued to offer government guarantees for power projects and implementing the tariff adjustments to enable the power utilities to be able to fully recover costs of electricity supply.
Presently, Namibia, Eswatini and Mauritius have migrated to cost-reflective tariffs while Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe have lifeline tariff structures that allow for a minimum level of service.