Sunday, January 26, 2020

Southern Times
Jan 24, 2020
Sinikiwe Marodza

Harare - Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Mozambique are the only two countries generating and producing surplus power to trade with other countries in Southern Africa, Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) co-ordination centre manager Steven Dihwa has revealed.

After going through a severe drought in 2018/19 that left Kariba Dam and other hydro-electricity power sources with insufficient water to generate electricity, most countries in the SADC region are struggling to generate electricity that meets their specific demands.

According to a report from the SAPP co-ordination centre, ever since the Zambezi River Authority’s (ZRA) move to reduce water supply for Zimbabwe and Zambia’s hydro-electricity generation from the Kariba Dam last year, power generation and supply within the region has been down, since Mozambique was the only country meeting the demand in their country and trading surplus with other countries.

The demand on Mozambique’s surplus has, however, been high since most countries were depending on the surplus from Mozambique, leaving SAPP with no option than looking at another SADC country with a capacity to trade with others, hence the coming in of DRC.

“The demand on Mozambique’s surplus was high, and so we had to look for an alternative, that is when we realised DRC is doing well in terms of power generation,” Dihwa said.

He said the DRC, through its vast power generation sources namely fossil fuels, water power and renewable energy, has been managing to produce enough electricity and surplus but they were not trading with other countries in the SADC region due to lack of knowledge.

“DRC was not trading with other SADC countries and we recently had some workshops with them. We gave them a few lessons and now they have started trading with countries from within the SADC region.

“Unfortunately, the way our market operates is different from how other markets operate, so we cannot tell which countries are trading with DRC. What happens is, they just bring their surplus to our bid basket, and those who are willing to buy, buy and that’s it.

“DRC is doing well in terms of power generation, their fossil, nuclear, water and even renewable energy sources are doing very well,” he said.

However, power generation in Zimbabwe and Zambia could soon change a bit as there are some reports indicating that water levels at Kariba Dam are rising.

The ZRA last week noted an increase in the water flow at Kariba’s major water flow stations, Victoria Falls, Ngonye, Chavuma and Nana’s farm, and that could bring hope for hydro power stations that depend on the dam.

The SAPP co-ordination centre manager, however, said the fact that an increase in water flow was noted was not enough to give hope for improved hydro power generation in Zimbabwe and Zambia.

According to SAPP, it only when the ZRA issues a report indicating a rise in water in Kariba or when the water allocated for hydro electricity generation is increased that  people should celebrated.

“Yes, there are some reports saying that water levels at the Kariba Dam are rising, but as long as there is no official report from the Zambezi River Authority there is nothing much to celebrate about.

“We still need to hear from the Zambezi River Authority, so far what is official is the fact that an increase in the water flow at Kariba’s major water flow stations was noted and that is one positive step to what we want to hear exactly,” Dihwa said.

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