Africa Energy: “Regional grid integration with Malawi, Tanzania and Angola as priorities” – SAPP

The Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) will prioritise connecting Malawi, Tanzania and Angola to the regional electricity grid by 2021, with an additional 22 000 MW of electricity generation capacity to be added to the regional grid by 2022.

The SAPP currently serves around 300-million people, with available generation capacity of 59 GW, at a consumption rate of 400 TWh, across 12 member countries, including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zambia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, eSwatini, South Africa and Lesotho.

SAPP members include national power utilities from every member country, as well as private utilities from some countries.

The generation mix of the SAPP currently comprises 62.05% coal, 2.94% solar photovoltaic, 4.03% wind, 21.02% hydro, 0.97% concentrated solar power, 3.01% nuclear and others.

SAPP aims to facilitate the development of a competitive electricity market in the Southern African region.

In the 2017/18 year, trading highlights for SAPP included a 72% day ahead market, 16% intraday market, 9% forward physical market on a weekly basis, and 3% forward physical market on a monthly basis.

A total of $106.6-million was exchanged among market players in the reporting year, compared with $75.8-million exchanged in 2016/17.

During the reporting year, SAPP traded 76% of its energy bilaterally and 24% of its energy was traded through the competitive market. Bilateral trade in the prior year accounted for 88.7% and the competitive market for 11.3%.

SAPP coordination centre manager Stephen Dihwa said at a SAPP conference, held on Wednesday, that the expansion of generation and transmission infrastructure is the biggest challenge facing the SAPP, even though the power pool is the most interconnected of the African power pools.

Economic Consulting Associates partner Peter Robinson anticipated Southern Africa’s electricity demand to reach 115 GW by 2040, which is an electricity supply rate of 715 TWh.

With this in mind, SAPP is facilitating the development of a 2 160 MW hydro generation plant in Angola by 2022, the 2 400 MW Batoka hydro generation plant in Zambia and Zimbabwe by 2023, as well as the 1 200 MW Devil’s Gorge hydro generation plant in Zambia and Zimbabwe by 2032.

The DRC is set to become a major exporter of electricity once the Inga 3 and 4 hydro generation plants are developed. There are plans to supply around 4 800 MW by 2030, 9 427 MW by 2033 and 11 600 MW by around 2036, from these plants.

Further, Mozambique will commission 1 500 MW by 2028 from Mphanda Nkuwa and Tanzania will, from Stiegler’s Gorge, commission 1 048 MW by 2036, and 2 036 MW by 2039.

SAPP is continually facilitating major transmission projects across the DRC to Angola, the DRC to Zambia, the DRC to South Africa and Zambia to Tanzania.

Moreover, a panel of speakers at the SAPP conference concurred that political will and harmonising regulation is the single biggest challenge to establishing a regionally connected grid.

eSwatini Electrical Company GM Ernest Mkhonta cited the turnover of politicians as a problem across all member countries, which he said prohibits the effective and consistent implementation of resource plans.

World Bank Group energy and extractives global practice manager Wendy Hughes echoed the statement, adding that harmonising regulation is a necessity, and suggested that a regional regulator be established to ensure coherent implementation of regulations according to the SAPP.

GAIA Infrastructure Capital director Clive Ferreira argued that the SAPP is more of a club than an organisation able to implement, and that SAPP needs greater empowerment before plans can truly add value across countries.

Moreover, ENGIE acquisitions, investments and financial advisory head Desnei Leaf-Camp pointed out that funding is not the issue in Southern Africa, “the money is there. The issue is rather the bankability of the sector, starting from domestic regulation, through to tariff aspects and the consistency of implementation first at a national level.”Source:

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