Picture: Shutterstock

Picture: Shutterstock

The completion of electricity transmission infrastructure will create a more competitive market for members of the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP). 

Speaking at the opening of the 49th SAPP conference of meetings in Tshwane, the minister of Energy Mmamoloko Kubayi said South Africa’s surplus electricity will be made available to the regional power pool. However, the issue of inadequate transmission infrastructure remains a hindrance.

“This capacity will be made available to the regional power pool so that member countries can utilise this capacity as their demand increases. We are aware that one of the constraints to the regional electricity trade is inadequate transmission infrastructure. It’s important for this reason that the projects underway be completed as speedily as possible,” Minister Kubayi told delegates attending the conference, hosted by power utility Eskom.

The SAPP, which has 12 member-countries represented by their respective electricity power utilities organised through the Southern African Development Community (SADC), coordinates the planning and operation of the electricity power system among member utilities.

Advantages abound

The power pool provides a forum for regional solutions to electricity energy problems.

Some of the projects include the Zizabona interconnect project which will link Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia as well as the establishment of the Namibia- Angola interconnector project.

“The completion of these projects will help create a more competitive market that will bring several advantages,” the Minister said.

Exploitation of diverse energy sources as well as better pricing are some of the advantages the region can expect when the projects are completed.

“A more competitive market will attract more investment, we want to see our economies growing. We need to work together,” said the Minister, adding that Eskom has moved into an era of energy surplus and would make the surplus available to the region.

“As South Africa we stand ready to provide resources at our disposal to ensure that all our regional partners are able to bring development to their countries and their people.”

Learning from load shedding

South Africa through Eskom has increased its generation capacity through Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and the new build programme for Medupi and Kusile.

Minister Kubayi said lessons could be learnt from the country’s history of load shedding.

Eskom’s acting Chief Executive Officer: Eskom Enterprises Abram Masango said the utility is proud of its SAPP membership. He added that the utility is critical to the development of South Africa.

“It’s our view that this new era of surplus energy certainly needs to be used as a springboard for development. If sufficient transmission investment is made this electricity supply certainty can be spread across the region empowering all of our countries,” he said.