New SADC power projects to boost output

power  Peter KaminskiThe Southern African Development Community (SADC) will commission new power projects in an attempt to increase electricity generation capacity in the region by 17,856MW between 2013 and 2016

Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) co-ordination centre manager Lawrence Musaba said new power plants will be required to meet the region’s rising electricity needs.

Musaba added, “In the period between 2013 and 2016, SAPP has plans to avert a regional power crisis by introducing new power projects. The current transmission infrastructure is required to be improved to move power from the generating stations to the load centres.

“The distribution of power and development of the transmission infrastructure to transport power around the region will be crucial.”

Musaba said Angola has plans to increase its power output by 3,610MW while South Africa will add 7,893MW and Zimbabwe 630MW by 2016. But, he added, there was need to provide incentives to lure more investors into the sector.

Musaba suggested that VAT and tax exemptions should be allowed for import of power equipment and machinery for a defined period. He also urged SADC countries to start developing hydro-power stations and not thermal ones.

“Member countries should build hydro-power stations as they are sustainable, have a longer lifespan and low maintenance costs, compared with thermal power stations. For example, Kariba Power station began operations in the 1960s, while Hwange thermal power station was built in the 1980s, yet Kariba is proving to be sustainable and it is producing more than Hwange,” he said.

Zambia and Zimbabwe have been jointly constructing the Batoka Hydro Electricity plant on the Zambezi River which will add 1,650MW to the two neighbours. Other SADC countries have also been implementing various projects aimed at increasing power output, including Mozambique, where vast resources of natural gas have been discovered.

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