A number of Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states are faced with a myriad of challenges that have rendered them unable to generate sufficient power to satisfy demand. Many of the SADC countries are faced with problems of limited project management and implementation, which have led to delays in completion of power generation projects.

This was revealed by Remmy Makumbi, Director of Infrastructure Services at the SADC Secretariat during a media briefing on Tuesday in Gaborone, the capital city of Botswana.

Makumbi said member states are also grappling with challenges in planning for power generation projects, caused by limited financing and cost allocation.

“Most SADC countries are also delaying to implement cost reflective tariffs, which has hindered development of a viable and well-functioning power industry,” he said.

Makumbe also expressed concern at the delays by SADC member states in signing of power purchase agreements, which affects project financial closure. He these challenges hamper the SADC’s ability to deliver affordable energy to its citizens, adding that overall electricity access in SADC stands at 36 percent, as the region has been struggling under a crippling energy deficit since 2007, which is only expected to be resolved by 2019.

According to him, electivity demand in the region increased by 3 percent during 2014/15. As at June 2015, the region had a capacity shortfall of 8, 247 MW when taking into account the current peak demand and generation capacity reserve margins.

However, a number of SADC countries plan to commission power projects that will generate a total 2,763 MW in 2015. Based on the planned projects, medium term measures to address the generation deficit include rehabilitation and generation projects to achieve energy adequacy by 2016. This includes an additional 24,062 MW of which 70 percent is expected to come from renewable energy sources, said the director.

Makumbi’s briefing comes before the upcoming 35th Ordinary Summit of SADC Heads of State and Government hosted in Gaborone from August 17 to 18. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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