Hon. Soda Zhemu graces US$1m Southern African Power Pool offices in Harare

Edwin Chabuka Avatar

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.

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What’s your take?

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  1. King

    150 billion euros can build at least 7 nuclear power plants in Southern Africa and this will guarantee us energy security rather than those hydro electric scheme .. Ko mvura ikasanaya

    1. Mmmm, Eish, IDK

      There are some safe(r) new reactor designs that could do wonders for the member countries, especially the modular stuff, but let me be honest, there isn’t a single country or government on that list i’d trust completely to run, maintain and secure multiple nuclear installations, including nuclear dabbler South Africa! I’m sure even the rest of the world would feel their butts clench at the thought of plants popping up all over southern africa😂
      Maybe we would be better off letting SA continue its nuclear research and operations while that often talked about massive Sahara solar plant gets started. If we do some shrewd negotiations, we could get a good deal for a slice of the pie and a close up look at how to build and run more modest large scale plants in member countries.

  2. Anonymous

    Energy consumption is increasing every year and no one is really increasing power generation that’s the real issue plus green energy is a scam when it comes to heavy industries ask China or India.

    1. More Juice

      That and the impact of more intensive mining of stuff like lithium are the green monsters hiding in plain sight in the push for electric vehicles. Generation capacity and alternative energy viability only get spotlit when places like California start asking citizens to do limited EV charging off peak to avoid blackouts (its drought related, but still). Things will be interesting when the combustion engine bans start taking effect. As for China, they are not shy about rolling out almost half of the worlds planned coal power plants within their border! They are literally rolling coal on the rest of the world😂

      1. Anonymous

        America and China are the top two carbon burning countries in the world but they’re trying to push everyone else to go green

        1. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

          Regardless, the problems with fossil fuels will still persist and everyone will eventually turn to alternative energies.

          It’s also about having a plan for ourselves, because even with all the coal we have, we have insufficient power.

  3. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

    Nuclear power plants cannot be run incompetently, we’ll Chernobyl ourselves cutting corners and giving tenders to substandard constructors. We can barely dispose our regular waste, now it will be nuclear matter.

  4. Doug

    Not surprising that they have these offices in Zimbabwe, as, only in Zimbabwe is this entity known. With all the power challenges causing havoc in the SADC no mention is given of the power pool. I wonder if electric power engineers in the largest economy of the SADC know about this power pool. It would also be interesting to find out and know how many of the SADC countries will have reports of the opening of these offices.

  5. John Date

    The largest economies know about this SAPP in Zimbabwe. I think Zimbabwe was best due to geographical location.

    1. Imi Vanhu Musadaro

      It’s best to open a bank branch, where the most borrowers are. 😂

  6. Marble Chingo

    Yaa, nuclear waste disposition won’t happen safely. I fear for the general public. We might die of cancer

  7. Chipo Jona

    Its true