SADC addresses energy shortages
The 34th Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit held in Zimbabwe addressed the issue of energy shortages in the region. The summit stressed the need to implement Demand Side Management (DSM). This program could effectively allow SADC to address its energy challenges in the short-term. This can be done while mobilizing resources to develop new power generation projects that will add more energy on the regional grid.
The SADC has been actively pursuing to halt the power shortages that date as far back as 2006. The DSM programme was initiated a few years ago by the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) to ensure that the region is able to manage its energy situation. SAPP is a regional body that coordinates the planning, generation, transmission and marketing of electricity on behalf of Member State utilities in SADC.
The power utilities in mainland SADC Member States, with the exception of Angola, Malawi and Tanzania, are interconnected through SAPP, allowing them to sell electricity to one another through a competitive market.
The DSM is planning to initiate various programs to curb the amount of energy used in the area. These programs include the introduction of Compact Florescent Lamps (CFLs), Commercial Lighting (CL), Hot Water Load Control (HWLC) and Solar Water Heaters (SWH). Switching from traditional light bulbs to CFLs and CL have been effective in most SADC countries as they have significantly reduced energy use at home.
Compared to incandescent bulbs, CFLs have been shown to save up to 80 percent of the electricity consumption. The Summit also urged all member states to provide the necessary policy support to implement the Demand Side Management programme, including banning of incandescent light bulbs.
According to the 34th SADC Summit Brochure released at the summit, Southern Africa has made cumulative savings of about 4,561MW from DSM programmes between 2009 and 2013.
It is envisaged that the SADC region will save more than 6,000MW by 2018 if such initiatives are implemented according to plan.