Achieving Sustainable Electric Power for Southern Africa: Issues and Options

J.D. Sakala (Botswana) and J. Mutale (UK)


Sustainability, renewable energy, energy efficiency, organisation restructuring


Due to a combination of factors including unprecedented growth in demand for electric power driven in part by the favourable investment climate in Southern Africa, existing generation capacity will not be able to meet demand in the short to medium term. This is already evident from the ongoing load shedding in many countries in the region. It goes without saying that failure to meet demand for electric power will undermine the regional economy and its future growth. Poor economic prospects will inevitably reverse any poverty reduction gains that have been achieved. Moreover the continuing reliance on top-down load shedding regimes as the primary mechanism to match supply and demand leads to undesirable economic and social outcomes. While it is generally accepted that investment in new large power stations is a major part of the solution, this by itself will not be enough to create truly sustainable power systems. This paper presents a qualitative analysis of the main challenges facing the electric power sector in Southern Africa ranging from technical through to commercial and regulatory aspects. The paper also suggests approaches and polices that could be considered in order to achieve sustainable electric power systems in region.

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