ENERGY and Power Development minister Soda Zhemu has revealed that electricity challenges in the country are far from over as the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) is failing to meet growing power demands despite having initiated a remedial solution 28 years ago.
Speaking at the official opening ceremony of the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) offices in Harare on Monday, Zhemu said the electricity supply industry in the Sadc region has been characterised by many challenges, including failure to meet the growing demand of electricity.
“Of late the electricity supply Industry in the Sadc region has been characterised by insufficient generation capacity to meet the growing power demand, where the current generation capacity shortfall is five thousand (5,000 MW) megawatts,” Zhemu said.
“Other challenges are lack of adequate transmission and distribution infrastructure to deliver electricity to end users, high transmission and power distribution losses; which increase cost of supply to consumers, and limited regional trade of power due to transmission constraints and particularly along the central transmission corridor.”
Zhemu said solutions to the challenges require coordinated planning by the region.
“The region can save up to US$37 billion if coordinated planning is followed as per the estimate of the SAPP Pool Plan of 2017. SAPP is also working on the Regional Transmission Infrastructure Financing Facility with the objective of unlocking transmission constraints and promoting the financing and development of new transmission infrastructure.”
He said leadership in the Sadc region have recognised the importance of cooperation and integration for regional development, which has led to the establishment of SAPP at the 19th Sadc Energy Ministers meeting in Lusaka in June 1994.
Twenty eight years on, the region is yet to meet the electricity demand despite SAPP enjoying some privileges and immunities, and does not pay duty for material imported for its use.
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“SAPP as an international development organisation enjoys some privileges and immunities and does not pay duty for material imported for use by SAPP. The government of Zimbabwe fully supports SAPP’s activities and programs as they drive the Sadc Energy Agenda,” he said.
Zhemu also said the SAPP members agreed to establish the SAPP Coordination Centre in Harare in 2000, adding that electricity demand in Zimbabwe is driven by a resurgence of mining activities and demand is growing.