Africa: Transmission grids key to regional energy development

ERERA Power lines05 March 2014, Harare – New electricity transmission lines are needed in southern Africa to enable all countries to share and benefit from increased generation capacity across borders.

Full integration of transmission would allow member states of the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) to sell surplus electricity to one another through a competitive market.

The SAPP coordination centre manager, Dr. Lawrence Musaba, has said that substantial financial resources are needed to strengthen the transmission grid, adding that member states and a number of potential investors have shown keen interest in the projects.

“Over US$5.6 billion will be required to develop the identified transmission projects,” he told a recent Africa Clean Energy Corridor meeting held in Abu Dhabi.

Musaba said that priority transmission projects have been identified for commissioning over the next few years to ensure that all countries in the region are connected.

Priority projects include the Zimbabwe-Zambia-Botswana-Namibia (ZiZaBoNa) transmission project, the Malawi-Mozambique interconnector, and the Central Transmission Corridor (CTC).

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) is not yet fully integrated in terms of energy needs for the expanding regional economy as Angola, Malawi and the United Republic of Tanzania are not yet connected to the regional power pool.

This means that any new generation capacity installed in any of the three countries is not accessible to the nine other members of SAPP, the regional body that coordinates the planning, generation, transmission and marketing of electricity on behalf of Member State utilities in SADC.

The other members are Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Interconnection also creates new corridors that can support industrial development and improve energy security in other parts of the region without being stifled by overloads on the existing transmission lines.

The ZiZaBoNa transmission project, which links four countries, has the capacity to increase power trading among the participating utilities, as well as provide an alternative route and help to decongest the existing central transmission corridor that passes through Zimbabwe.


– Southern Africa News Features

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