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Oct 06, 2006
Plans to avert Southern African energy crisis as demand outstrips supply in SADC regionBack
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© Reuse this The 11-year-old Southern African Power Pool (Sapp) has put several measuresin place to avert an impending regional energy crisis, Sapp coordination centremanager Dr Lawrence Musaba tells Engineering News. Zimbabwe-based Musaba says that thecrisis has arisen as a result of demand forelectricity outstripping supply in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). He says that this is the consequence of investment in power-generation capacity inthe past ten to fifteen years not keeping pace with demand, which has been increasing at a rate of 3% a year over the same period, andsteadily diminishing surplus power-generation capacity. Musaba warns that Southern Africanregional energy demand would not be metnext year and, perhaps, not even in the year after, which would restrict economic growth and negatively affect attainment of Africa’s millennium development goals.
To avert an impending energy crisis, hereports that Sapp has formulated priority project listing to act as a guideline to public-sector and private-sector investors. The priority projects agreed are: • Rehabilitation and associatedinfrastructure projects, most of which are under construction and scheduled for completion beforethe end of 2007, which will add3 200 MW of power to the SADC grid at a cost estimated at$1,4-billion.
• Short-term generation projects, for which feasibility studies andenvironmental-impact assessments have been completed, somesecuring funding, others not. Once completed by 2010/11, these short-term projects would addabout 4 200 MW at $3,8-billion. • Short-term transmission projects, the strategy for which is to support interconnectors that meet thecriteria for interconnecting thethree nonoperating members –Angola, Malawi and Tanzania. Musaba reports that the reinforcement of the 220-kV DRC–Zambia interconnector is expected toincrease the power transfer capacityfrom the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to Zambia and toincrease trade between the DRC and the countries of Southern Africa. Work on this line is still in progress. The Zambian Electricity Supply Corporation energised the 220-kV Zambia–Namibia interconnector in August 2006, which is being performance-monitored.The line is meant to increase thesecurity of supply to the northern part of Namibia from Zambia.
• Medium-term to long-term generation projects to supply power to the SADC region,including the Western Power Corridor Project (Westcor), which is expected to move some 4 000 MW of power from Inga Three, in the DRC, to Southern Africa and to pick up 6 500 MW of generation at Kwanza river, in Angola.
Project implementing agents, mostly the national powerutilities of the SADC region, are aware that different projects require different fundingarrangements such as the public, private and public–private from sources including the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the Southern African Development Bank. Musaba says that Sapp and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development are working with the SADC energy ministers toattract funding for both short-term and long-term generation and transmission projects.An investors’ conference, as a follow-up toone held in Namibia in September 2005, is planned. He says that the SADC energyministers have pledged to implement cost-reflective tariffs and adopt tariff-enhancingregulatory principles. SADC governments’support for cost-reflective tariffs is essential, Musaba emphasises.
Countries connected, not connected
He reports that planning to connect the non-operating Angola, Malawi and Tanzaniamembers have reached advanced stages.An interconnector between Malawi and Mozambique, for instance, could be builtwithin 24 months of the signing of an agreement between the buyer, Escom of Malawi, and the seller, HCB of Mozambique. The Zambian, Tanzanian and Kenyangovernments have agreed to implement the Zambia–Tanzania–Kenya interconnector project, through which the power systems of the three nonoperating countries will beinterconnected, enhancing trade, supplysecurity and regional economic integration. The three countries have, consequently,mobilised funds for technical, economic,financial and environmental studies for athree-part project, made up of: • a Zambia–Tanzania interconnector, beginning at Pensulo substation, near Serenje in Zambia, and endingat Mwakibete sub-station, near Mbeya, in Tanzania; • reinforcement of the Tanzanian transmission system to allow transfer to Kenya; and • a Tanzania–Kenya transmission line from Arusha to Nairobi. The three governments have agreed to proceed to the next preparation-for-imple-mentation phase, for which the African Development Bank and the Development Bank of Southern Africa have provided grant funding. A consultant is undertaking an environmental and social impact assessment study for the reinforcement of the transmission system in Tanzania.
The year-old Westcor Pty Ltd was formed under Sapp’s auspicesto develop the Westcor project, which isintended to exploit the DRC’s environment-friendly, renewable and hydroelectric Inga. The DRC’s power utility, Snel, owns and operates the two existing Inga power stations, Inga One and Inga Two, which have a combined outputof 1 770 MW. Theproposed next phase of the development, Inga Three, has a rated out-put of 3 500 MW to4 000 MW and thefinal Inga phase, Grand Inga, a rated output of 39 000 MW. Westcor is developing Inga Three and will also operate a high-voltage transmission line from the DRC to Southern Africa, which will include a fibre-optic telecommunications network. Former DRC electricity utilityexecutive Jean Lokala has been appointed Westcor COO.
The five-year-old Sapp-administered short-term energy market (Stem) permits day-ahead hourly energy trading, which, he says, enables participants to take advantage of the short-term surpluses and also to profit from their own short-term surpluses. A participant can also use Stem to cover a temporary shortage.From January 2004, and with the Norwegian government’s funding of NOK35-million, Sapp initiated the development of a competitive electricity market in the form of a day-ahead market (Dam) for the SADC, which Musaba expects to begin operating in the first quarter of next year. In addition, Sida of Sweden is providing SEK9,8-million for the development of along-term transmission-pricing policy. Simultaneously, Sapp has engaged aconsultant to assist with the development of abalancing mechanism. “A robust methodologyfor settling imbalances is required,” Musaba explains, adding that there is a need for aninstantaneous balance between supply anddemand in the power system in order to assure quality of supply. “Dam will ensure that offers and bids are matched a day ahead of the real-time operation of the system,” he points out.
In reply to an Engineering News question, Musaba says that Sapp members have beenadhering to operating guidelines. The inter-connected members have all been fulfilling their technical obligations. Financial obligations are mostly bilateral and most members have renewed theircontracts, which isindicative of all of them fulfilling their obligations.
Sapp was established in 1995 when the countries of the SADC took the first step towards thecreation of a common electricity market in the region, to which the electricity utilities of these countries belong. The pool’s mandate is to foster and developa regional electricityinfrastructure, for the mutual benefit of all member states. The initial aim of Sapp is also to optimise the use of available energy resources among the countries in the SADC region and tosupport one another during emergencies. By the end of last year, Sapp membercountries had a combined installed generating capacity of about 52 000 MW, most of which was South Africa-based.
Edited by: Ollie Madlala© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
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