SADC set to hit electricity wall by 2007

Posted On Wednesday, 21 January 2004 02:00 Published by eProp Commercial Property News
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Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries would run out of capacity to meet electricity demand by 2007

Infrastructure IndustrySouthern African Development Community (SADC) countries would run out of capacity to meet electricity demand by 2007, Ikhuphuleng Dube, the principal research officer at the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority, said yesterday.

This was the consensus reached from preliminary studies conducted by the Southern African Power Pool, a regional body of electricity utilities across the SADC.

Dube said SADC countries would have to invest in excess of $10 billion to meet the threat posed by the impending shortfall.

"Although the Southern African Power Pool studies are not yet complete, we have seen that certain projects within the region can be harnessed to meet the deficit. These projects include investment in generation of power and regional interconnectivity," he said.

The studies were initiated to ascertain which projects provided the least costly power. Each member country does its own demand focus, which it submits to the regional body.

Zimbabwe, which has five power plants, would need to invest in excess of $1 billion to meet its local needs and was looking at establishing three power plants, Dube said. 

"We are engaged in a massive rural electrification project and expansion plans of existing plants have been put in place," he said.

Most SADC countries are net importers of electricity, with South Africa and Mozambique exporting the bulk of the region's power. However, the threat of declining capacity is also expected to hit exporters of electricity.

The SADC is particularly under threat because it takes five years to plan, build and commission a power plant.

Ernst Uken, the head of the energy technology unit at Cape Technikon, said there were major benefits for SADC countries, particularly in poor, rural communities, if they explored more ways of using alternative or renewable sources such as solar energy.

"The additional benefits include fuel diversity and reduced price diversity, load growth insurance, reliability and resilience," he said.

The technikon unit has created 50 jobs with the establishment of an affordable solar sewing station in the rural village of Kliprand, which will become self-sustainable in May.

 

Last modified on Tuesday, 05 November 2013 11:40

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