Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Clean Power

CCG’s COP27 Policy Brief Series Looks At How To Enable Southern Africa’s Transition To A Low-Carbon Electricity System

The Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), is one of the more developed power pools on the African continent. The SAPP operates four competitive electricity markets between 12 member countries. It has facilitated trade between utilities in Southern Africa since 1995. The operating member countries include Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, and DRC, which are principally represented by each country’s national utility. Countries in Southern Africa represent about 40% of total electricity demand and about 40% of total carbon emissions in Africa. Most of the demand and carbon emissions can be attributed to coal-dominated South Africa.

The  SAPP markets are:

Bilateral Market: Bilateral Trading Objectives are mainly to meet long-term demand and supply balance

  • Trading arrangements mutually agreed between bilateral parties
  • Volumes and prices are the key parameters
  • Transmission path to be secured in advance
  • Can be firm or non-firm
    • Firm contracts
      • Have penalties for non-delivery and
      • Generally, not interruptible — reliability premium
    • Non-Firm contracts
      • Are interruptible with notice
      • If notice given, no penalties
      • Generally, less than 75% reliable.

Forward Physical Markets: Is competitive trading in monthly or weekly contracts (or any other defined periods longer than one day ahead) for future delivery according to the contract specifications.

The regional interconnections and the SAPP markets could play a key role assisting Southern Africa’s transition to a low-carbon electricity system. A recent policy brief looks into several scenarios for cost-optimal low-carbon electricity pathways for the 12 mainland countries of Southern Africa. The paper by Deshmukh, R., Ndhlukula, K., Wu, G.C., and Chowdhury, A.F.M.K. (2022), is titled Enabling Southern Africa’s Transition to a Low-Carbon Electricity Systemand is under the Climate Compatible Growth Programme COP27 Policy Brief Series. Their work found that increasing competitive electricity trade through the Southern African wholesale electricity market by at least 5 times, as well as doubling the inter-regional transmission capacity for sharing both renewable and conventional energy resources across the region, would be critical in enabling the transition to a high clean energy electricity sector with up to 80% of total generation coming from renewables by 2040. Meeting this target would roughly halve annual GHG emissions in the region.

Other key recommendations from the policy brief include:

  • Annual wind and solar energy procurement should be increased by up to 5 times the current rate by 2040 as this is the least-cost strategy to meet growing future electricity demand in Southern Africa.
  • New coal power plants were found to be not cost-effective and therefore should be avoided.
  • Planned hydropower projects should be critically re-evaluated as half of the planned capacity was found to be not cost-effective.
  • Development of hydropower, wind, and solar PV projects in areas with high biodiversity should be avoided, a strategy that would incur less than 5% additional costs.
  • The additional costs of adopting clean energy targets or retiring coal plants 20 years early to halve GHG emissions by 2040 should be offset through low-cost international financing and climate grants.

South Africa’s national electric utility company Eskom plans to decommission 5,400 MW of electricity from coal generation by year 2022, 10,500 MW by 2030, and 35,000 MW by 2050 (IRP, 2019). As South Africa has the bulk of the coal plants in the region, it will be a key determining factor when it comes to reducing the region’s emissions.

SAPP grid map, courtesy of SAPP


Sign up for daily news updates from CleanTechnica on email. Or follow us on Google News!

Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Former Tesla Battery Expert Leading Lyten Into New Lithium-Sulfur Battery Era — Podcast:

I don't like paywalls. You don't like paywalls. Who likes paywalls? Here at CleanTechnica, we implemented a limited paywall for a while, but it always felt wrong — and it was always tough to decide what we should put behind there. In theory, your most exclusive and best content goes behind a paywall. But then fewer people read it! We just don't like paywalls, and so we've decided to ditch ours. Unfortunately, the media business is still a tough, cut-throat business with tiny margins. It's a never-ending Olympic challenge to stay above water or even perhaps — gasp — grow. So ...
If you like what we do and want to support us, please chip in a bit monthly via PayPal or Patreon to help our team do what we do! Thank you!

Remeredzai Joseph Kuhudzai has been fascinated with batteries since he was in primary school. As part of his High School Physics class he had to choose an elective course. He picked the renewable energy course and he has been hooked ever since. At university he continued to explore materials with applications in the energy space and ending up doing a PhD involving the study of radiation damage in High Temperature Gas Cooled Nuclear Reactors. He has since transitioned to work in the Solar and Storage industry and his love for batteries has driven him to obsess about electric vehicles.


You May Also Like


Africa New Energy and Vehicles (AfricaNEV) is a continental non-profit that aims to accelerate the adoption of e-mobility in Africa through policy advocacy, awareness...


The Japanese market has a major influence on the automotive sector in East and Southern Africa. That’s because most of the countries in East...

Clean Transport

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has established a causal link between climate change and the rise in armed conflicts in sub-Saharan African countries:...


South Africa’s Shoprite Group is expanding its key environmental programs as part of its sustainability strategy. One of the major components of this strategy...

Copyright © 2023 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.