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SAPP to commission 5,500MW new generation capacity

April 2014

SOUTHERN AFRICA expects to commission new power projects in 2014 that will add about 5,500 megawatts of electricity to the regional grid as the region targets to attain energy self-sufficiency within the next four years, according to the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP)..

New and rehabilitated energy generation projects planned for commissioning this year are expected to add about 6,141MW of electricity, but 685MW of the new capacity will come from Angola and the United Republic of Tanzania which are not connected to the regional grid.

Other new power will come from South Africa, which is expected to commission 4,936MW this year, Zambia (195MW), Mozambique (175MW) and Botswana (150MW).

In line with a regional target to gradually increase the uptake of cleaner energy sources by 2020, about 36 percent of the planned new interconnected capacity in 2014 will be from renewable energy sources, which will be produced by independent power producers in South Africa.

Part of this will come from the Sere Wind Farm in the Western Cape region of South Africa that is expected to be one of the largest wind farms in southern Africa, producing 100MW on completion. Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) projects are expected to add more than 1,800MW to the grid.

CSP systems use mirrors or lenses to concentrate a large area of sunlight onto a small area. Electrical power is produced when the concentrated light is converted to heat, which drives a heat engine connected to an electrical power generator.

Southern African countries agreed in 2012 to increase the uptake of cleaner energy sources that result in reduced carbon emission.

This follows the adoption of a wide-range of strategies aimed at aligning the region with new trends in the global energy sector, which now favour renewable energy as opposed to fossil fuels.

Meeting in Botswana in April 2012, energy experts from the region agreed that SAPP should achieve a renewable energy mix in the regional grid of at least 32 percent by 2020 and 35 percent by 2030.

They also agreed that Member States must identify all renewable energy projects that can be connected to the regional grid and that SAPP should develop a Renewable Energy Development Plan that lists projects according to priority, which should be linked to the SADC Regional Infrastructure Master Plan.

It was agreed that by 2015 all SADC Member States and SAPPshould have assessed their grid capacity for renewable energy and identified requirements for grid upgrades, if any; and that all countries should have undertaken strategic environmental assessments for the various renewable energy types in their countries.