04 Sep 2013 02:50
WALVIS BAY, 04 SEP (NAMPA) Power demands for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region have been increasing by 2.5 per cent per year, and an electricity shortfall of 7 709 MW is currently being experiencing.
This was the view of the Deputy Minister of Mines and Energy, Willem Isaack at the official opening of the 41st Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) meeting here on Tuesday.
The available regional capacity of 51 702 Megawatt (MW) is being suppressed against a demand of 59 144 MW for the SADC region, which leaves a shortfall of 7 709MW.
At the end of 2012, a total capacity equivalent of 1 031 MW was commissioned, and an additional 1 992 MW still needs to be commissioned.
This commissioned project meant collaborated efforts made by various countries, like Angola contributing 280 MW, Mozambique 100 MW and South Africa 303 MW.
The SADC region will have sufficient generation capacity reserves after 2016, if all projects are commissioned as planned. A total of 19 000 MW of new generation is expected to be commissioned between 2013 and 2016, of which three per cent will be renewable energy, Isaack said.
He added that the past decade will go down in the history of SADC as a decade characterised by the highest demands for electricity and load-shedding, requiring enormous investments in generation and transmission infrastructure development.
SADC countries are scrambling to secure permanent supplies of electricity, amidst these regional power crises. Due to decades of under-investment in the energy sector, SADC countries have found themselves at the receiving end of a biting energy crisis, which is threatening to derail years of solid economic growth, Isaack noted.
During the last five years, utilities in SADC have nonetheless been extremely busy with significant power development efforts, aimed at alleviating imminent power shortages.
Power utilities are all hard at work implementing short, medium and long-term generation and transmission projects. The speedy implementation of these programs and projects to meet challenges facing the SADC Electricity Supply Industry cannot be over-emphasised, the Deputy Minister stated.
Furthermore, to avoid the electricity shortfalls experienced during 2007 to 2008, regional integration is required in all sectors, including energy, as well as identifying those bottlenecks blocking or derailing the completion of much- needed electricity-generating projects, he continued.
The meeting is being held under the theme Energising the region by expanding generation and transmission capacities.
The four-day meeting, which is hosted by local power utility NamPower, is being attended by specialists in the field of electricity within the SADC region.