SAPP faces Herculean task to achieve mandate ... Angola, Malawi and Tanzania still reluctant to join

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Timo Shihepo

Windhoek - The Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), which needs US$90 billion to install 130,000 Megawatts of new generation investment by 2040, is facing a monumental task to achieve its power mandate because of the persisting sophisticated obstacles.

The SAPP has an installed capacity of 62 GW (62 000 MW) but only 54 GW (54 000 MW) is available at the moment.

SAPP has a mandate of providing a forum for the development of a world-class, robust, safe, efficient, reliable and stable interconnected electrical system in the southern African region.

However, the regional power pool is facing challenges amid poor economic performances by member states.  Other challenges include the reluctance by Angola, Malawi and Tanzania to interconnect their national power grids onto the SAPP grid.

South Africa’s Eskom, which is SAPP’s biggest electricity power utility, is also facing challenges subsequently affecting the power pool.

SAPP also faces a monumental task of acquiring US$6 billion for transmission interconnector by 2024. Priority power transmission projects include the construction of the ZiZaBoNa Interconnector Project linking Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia, as well as the establishment of the Angola-Namibia interconnector that will connect the former to SAPP.

“No country should be isolated from trading in electricity with another SAPP member either through bilateral trade or SAPP markets. Billions of dollars are required to be invested to bring new infrastructure to areas that are not adequately served with energy. Likewise, heavy investment is required to reinforce current infrastructure to unlock development opportunities for the region,” says Namibia’s Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy, Kornelia Shilunga.

Shilunga added that some projects are already in progress others need funding and said that they have institutions who have expressed their will to fund these projects.

SAPP Coordination Centre acting manager Alison Chikova told The Southern Times that most countries in SADC are in power deficit but if you look at the power available in the region, it actually shows that there is an energy surplus.

“It’s just a question of how we trade this power among ourselves. Our aim is to install 5,000 MW into the SAPP every year,” he says.

Meanwhile, although there is no official government word when Angola and Tanzania will join, Minister of Natural Resources, Energy and Mining Aggrey Massi says Malawi is expected to be an operating member of SAPP by 2020.

SAPP wants Angola and Tanzania to interlink onto the SAPP grid by 2020 too.

 

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