On the 31st of October 2022, Hon. Soda Zhemu officiated the opening of the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP) coordination center at Emerald Hill in Harare. With Zimbabwe being at the center of SADC it was said to be the most strategic place to have the infrastructure. There was also a closed-door meeting for the 53rd annual executive meeting of all member utilities of SAPP
What is the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP)?
SAPP is a collection of 19 power utilities in Southern Africa excluding Mauritius which have their electricity grids interconnected. This allows countries like South Africa to sell us electricity and vice versa. Essentially there can be trading of power between any of the interconnected countries.
There are 12 countries that are members of the SAPP which include Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi, Angola, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Namibia, Tanzania, Zambia, DRC, and Zimbabwe. SAPP itself does not manage all the power utilities. That is done by the individual operations centers within each power utility. All they have is a dashboard with all the utilities and interconnections which shows the state of the SAPP network.
What does the SADC power situation look like?
As of 2020 the total installed capacity of all SAPP utilities was 72157MW with an operating capacity of 58494MW. So about 80% of installed capacity was active in 2020. Fast forward to 2022 and that 80% has dropped to about 66% as Engineer Choga, Acting Managing Director for ZETDC stated in his address.
The reason for this might not always be the deterioration of existing power-generating installations. Expansion of capacity on existing plants as well as new plants that haven’t gone online yet contributes to this.
At the moment the revival of Hwange Power Station’s unit 7 is nearing completion with Hon. Soda Zhemu stating that it will be online by December 2022. He also mentioned that unit 8 of the same power station will be completed by the end of the 1st quarter of 2023. These 2 units will be adding a combined 600MW to the grid.
How does SAPP fit into the bigger picture?
In February 2022, The European Union made available 150 billion Euros under the Europe Global Gateway Investment scheme. The theme is Accelerating the green transition with 1 of the 4 focus areas being green energy.
Ambition by 2030: Increase the renewable energy generation capacity by at least an additional 300 GW.European Commission
The scale of projects makes them more attractive to commission and when looking at a micro level a number of projects are ineligible. SAPP in this regard can consolidate multiple projects from multiple utilities in different member countries producing a proposal that meets the criteria for consideration of the grant. The 1600MW Batoka Hydro-Electric Scheme is one such project that can be in the proposal the EU considers for the investment scheme.