Power supply deficit hits SADC region

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Sinikiwe Marodza and Mirirai Ngoya

Harare - There is a serious power generation deficit within the SADC region that needs an urgent attention as most countries are currently failing to meet their specific installed power generation capacities, figures from the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) show.

According to the regional power pool, Angola is currently producing 2.500 megawatts of power, yet its installed generation capacity is 3,129 MW, Botswana is operating at 459 MW against their 927MW installed capacity, and the Democratic Republic of Congo is  producing 1,076 MW yet their installed generation capacity is 2.457 MW.

Eswathini’s installed generation capacity is 70 MW yet they are currently operating at 55 MW, Lesotho is operating at 70 MW against the installed 74 MW generation capacity whilst Malawi is making do with 270 MW against the 447 MW installed generation capacity.

The same statistics are indicating that Namibia is operating at 354 MW failing to meet the installed generation capacity of 749 MW, South Africa currently running at 46,461 against their 52. 096 MW installed generation capacity and Tanzania’s current operating capacity is 1 221 MW against the 1 461 MW installed generation capacity.

SAPP statistics also indicate that before the recent move by the Zambezi River Authority to reduce water supply for Zimbabwe and Zambia’s power plants at Kariba Dam from 38 billion cubic square metres to 36 billion cubic square metres, Zimbabwe has been operating on 1 555 MW against its 2 042 MW installed generating capacity, while Zambia has been operating at 2,734 MW which is their rightful installed generation capacity.

SAPP coordination centre manager, Stephen Dihwa, said Mozambique is the only country that is producing surplus electricity to feed into the SAPP market for other SADC countries to have access to the power.

“Mozambique, which is one of the largest power generating countries in the SADC region, will be the main source of power in the meantime, as they are the only country that is producing surplus electricity.

“In the region, power generation is down to a greater extent, with countries like South Africa no longer able to produce surplus electricity, since there was an unexpected break down of power generators at Eskom plant in South Africa so it cannot trade surplus electricity on the market.

“Countries like Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Zimbabwe are likely to look for power load shifting since South Africa is no longer able to produce surplus electricity,” Dihwa said

However, Dihwa highlighted that other countries that have signed bilateral agreements to be supplied power by South Africa can buy the little available power from the SAPP market, while some can only have access during the night depending on the amount of surplus   power on the market.

“With the recent move by the Zambezi River Authority of reducing Zimbabwe and Zambia’s water supply for hydro electricity generation from 38 billion cubic square metres to 36 cubic square metres, it means that the operating electricity capacity for these two countries has also reduced from the statistics we have to a lower statistic and the deficit has increased for these two countries.

“However, Zimbabwe and Zambia can buy power from Mozambique. Electricidade de Moçambique is generating power from gas which can help Zimbabwe and other SADC countries with electricity.

“Analysing the power structure within the region, it shows that it has become a big problem to generate adequate electricity for each country” Dihwa said.

Given the power challenges facing the SADC region, analysists say it was high time countries in the region invest in solar power stations so as to augment their national supplies.

 

 

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