GABORONE ÔÇô The status of power demand and supply in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states (mainland) grew by a weighted average of 3 percent per annum during 2014/15, latest figures from the regional economic bloc shows.
An issue paper published by SADC’s energy organ on water and energy sector further shows that the region’s supply and demand is expected to grow at the same rate in 2015/16.
SADC’s peak demand and generation capacity reserve margins is currently perked at 8, 247 MW. Southern Africa ÔÇô a region containing some of Africa’s fastest growing economies ÔÇô is at present facing critical energy shortages and has an urgent need to bring on line several energy generation projects.
Over the last few years, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe have had to resort to load-shedding as a stop-gap measure in order to conserve energy.
When officially opening a ministerial meeting on energy in the capital Gaborone on Monday, Botswana President, Ian Khama said the SADC region is facing a number of multiple challenges related to energy and water availability, delivery, access and affordability with crippling effects on the economy of the region.
Khama who is also the chairman of SADC noted that, “indicators have revealed that access to electricity in rural areas is below 10% in most Member States and that the overall electricity access for the region stands below 40% compared to 44% for Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region.”
In 2015, the mainland member states of SADC commissioned generation capacity amounting to 2, 089 MW from new projects and rehabilitation of old power plants. At the same time, Botswana is currently looking at increasing the capacity of both Morupule A and B which are the main source of power for the country.
Official statistics provided by the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) indicate that by the end of 2015, the SADC members states had installed capacity of 61, 859 MW and an operating capacity of 46, 910 MW against a normal peak demand of 48, 216 MW.
Meanwhile the SAPP figures also shows that on average, public spending on the power sector is low (under 3%) and growth in the energy generation capacity has been low at an annual rate of 1.4 percent over the last 20 years.