Wednesday, June 7, 2023

SADC making big inroads into power generation

At the climate change workshop which was recently held in Gaborone, Senior Programme Officer- Energy at the SADC Secretariat, Moses Ntlamelle explained that, “Access to electricity is only 42 per cent in SADC. The Region is facing a shortfall of electricity supply due to delayed projects and the utilities had to resort to load shedding programmes. Severe drought affected hydropower, especially Member States that rely on hydro resources.”

Following his presentation, i caught up with him for a chat. In his view, the SADC bloc has been experiencing coordination challenges such as delayed meetings of Power Purchase Agreements and delayed signing of IGMOU of Interconnection Projects like the DRC-RSA, Angola-Namibia. He says the delays are mainly because the IGMOU normally involve two or more Member States and it covers legal processes and clearances before designated Ministers can sign.  Hence it can be lengthy process at times.

 He explained that the SADC Energy Programme Objectives include facilitating, coordinating and achieving availability of sufficient, reliable, least cost energy services that will assist in the attainment of economic growth and the eradication of poverty, whilst ensuring the environmentally sustainable use of energy resources in the SADC Region.

 “As of the end of May 2016, the mainland Member States had an installed generation capacity of 61,894 MW and operating capacity of 46,959 MW against a demand and reserve of 52,542MW.  When taking into account the current peak demand and generation capacity reserve margins, the Regional capacity shortfall is 5,583 MW; 3 SADC mainland M/S are still not connect to SAPP Grid the installed capacity in oceanic Member States is 782MW, 246MW, and 106MW for Mauritius, Madagascar and Seychelles respectively,” explained Ntlamelle.

As for the trend from 2014 to 2015, he said the share of coal fired power dropped from 70 per cent to 62 per cent, while hydropower remained constant at 21 per cent. Out of Commissioned power generation in 2015, coal occupied 39 per cent while Renewable Energy (RE) 35 per cent and gas fired plants occupied 26 per cent.

The recent investment in RE technologies in form of wind and solar (PV and CSP, particularly in South Africa, as well as the discovery of natural gas and commissioned gas-fired power plants in Mozambique and Tanzania increased the Regional power generation mix from five to ten primary energy sources.

Ntlamelle said SADC prioritises on implementation of power generation projects with large capacity (Ôëê>1000 MW); transmission projects aimed to relieve congestion on the networks and evacuation of power from new power plants; transmission projects promoting Regional trading and competitive electricity markets; and projects interconnecting non-operating Member States to enhance Regional Integration.

As for RE priorities, Ntlamelle said SADC started cooperation with IRENA in 2011 where the areas of cooperation included the identificatin of local case studies on successfully implemented renewable energy solutions. SADC started cooperation with SE4All Africa Hub hosted by the African Development Bank (AfDB) in 2012.  The Secretariat has joined the SE4All Africa Hub Oversight Committee representing the Regional Economic Communities

The Secretariat received Technical Assistance Facility of the European Union Commission within the framework of the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) Initiative to complete development of a Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Strategy and Action Plan (REEESAP) up to year 2030.The Phase two of EEP Project will cover nine SADC Member States with a budget of 35 million Euros to enhance knowledge management and capacity development for project developers, investors and policy makers as well as portfolio analysis to identify areas of support for the renewable energy market.

Furthermore, Ntlamelle said SADC will facilitate the acceleration of electricity access and establishment of institutions dedicated to rural electrification in the Member States. He also said they the bloc will implement a regional project on “Building Regional Climate Resilience through Electricity Trading and Related Infrastructure” so as to enhance regional power pool developmental planning through incorporation of climate change factors such as temperature increase and rainfall variability.

He also said the SADC Energy Sector Programme recommends that Member States should incorporate possible climate change impacts and adaptation measures in infrastructure development plans and implementations. More so, he revealed that the bloc should pursue and access Climate Change related funds in order to improve resilience of SADC communities against impact of Climate Change and Variability.


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