Regional energy deficiency is an investment opportunityThe second meeting of the programme technical steering committee (PTSC) of the project on “Enhancement of a Sustainable Energy Market in Eastern Africa-Southern Africa-Indian Ocean Region” came to an end last Thursday, April 26, 2018 in Swakopmund town, Namibia.
Energy experts from Comesa, East African Community (EAC) and Southern African Development Community (Sadc) participated in the two-day meeting.
Its objective was to review the implementation of the project on Enhancement of a Sustainable Regional Energy Market in the Eastern Africa-Southern Africa-Indian Ocean (EA-SA-IO) Region. Communication experts from the three regional economic communities attended the meeting to close ranks with energy experts on how to publicize the project.
The project seeks to address market governance and regulatory related challenges affecting the implementation of energy development projects in the region. It is supported by a seven million Euros fund provided under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF) for a period of four years since the signing of the grant delegation agreement with Comesa in May 2017.
Chief executive officer of the Regional Association of Energy Regulators in Eastern and Southern Africa (RAERESA), Dr. Mohamedain Seif Elnasr, told the delegates that the energy deficiency in the region, provided great opportunities for investments in the sector.
“Energy poverty in the region should not only be seen as an investment opportunity for power generation on a regional basis but also an opportunity to build regional power interconnectors to facilitate trade in power from surplus to deficit regions,” Dr Elnasr said.
According to the World Energy Outlook 2014 Factsheet, published by the International Energy Agency related to Sub-Saharan Africa, 950 million people are projected to gain access to electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2040. The report cites urban areas have the largest improvement in the coverage and reliability of centralised electricity supply. Cumulative investment of more than $200 billion will lower the total population without access by 15 percent: a major step forward, but not far enough, as it still leaves 530 million people in the region, primarily in rural communities, without electricity in 2040.
Against this background, Dr Elnasr observed that the energy situation in the region was a rm indication of how much work that needs to be done to ensure it becomes a key enabler and game- changer to doing business and increasing the productivity of the industries. The main challenges affecting energy sufficiency are: inadequate level and coverage of physical infrastructure due to insufficient low investment in the sector, inefficiency and unreliability of existing energy infrastructure services, increased economic and population growth, the high cost of operating energy infrastructure facilities and the inability to prepare bankable projects. Mr Graham Ching’ambu, the representative of the European Union Commission said integrating the regional energy market will achieve efficient scale and scope.
“From an investment perspective, an integrated regional market will improve returns for both public and private investment,” he said. “It will provide an opportunity to lower the price of power thus lowering the cost of production; rationalise investments in generation leaving room for more investments in transmission and distribution as well as the provision of o grid power.”
Mr Ching’ambu who is the programme manager in charge of regional infrastructure projects under the EU support, challenged the participants to look at the program beyond just producing rules and regulations but setting the regional market to deliver more efficient energy. Senior Programme Officer in charge of Energy at the Southern African Development Community Moses Ntlamelle said there was urgent need to link regional States through power interconnectors in the East Africa Power Pool (EAPP) and Southern African Power Pool (SAPP). This will contribute towards continental integration through energy infrastructure, which will realize the Cape-toCairo power connectivity and trading along that corridor.
Other regional project implementing agencies represented at the meeting were energy regulatory authorities, power pools and centres for renewable energy.