SAPP Is Building Africa’s Energy Security

Through power pool interconnections, skills development and project advisory assistance, SAPP aims to develop a stronger power network.
Published: Fri 19 Jun 2015

In a live studio interview at African Utility Week, Lawrence Musaba, Coordination Centre Manager, Southern African Power Pool, discusses the movement to the new SAPP market trading platform.

Creating a more sustainable trading platform

The movement from the previous platform, developed by Nord Pool with specifications from SAPP in 2003, was necessary after Nord Pool was bought by Nasdaq as maintenance and operations costs increased, he says. These increases made it “very difficult for SAPP members to use this platform and it was difficult to negotiate better rates for ourselves. We wanted our own platform,” he explains.

In response to this need, an alliance was formed with South Africa-based Enerweb to implement the new trading platform for SAPP. He describes the platform as sustainable as it was developed and is now owned by SAPP. “We are now able to modify it in the future so we have added other markets which were not in the previous trading platform. The trading platform can now cater for a Day-Ahead Market, an Intra-Day Market (up to one hour prior to dispatch), Weekly, Monthly Markets and a Physical Forward Market, with a view to incorporating other financial market considerations in the future. It is affordable in terms of maintenance, and it is financially viable. The various markets are to be implemented in stages.”

Market open to non-members

Membership of SAPP was very restricted in the past but now the market is open to those who are not SAPP members such as independent power producing and transmission companies as long as these interconnect to the SAPP. Prior to 2008, the market was restricted and open only to national power utilities of the SADAC (Southern African Development Community). There are currently 16 members, four of which are private entities.

Interconnecting SAPP and EAPP

Musaba also discusses the potential and the many benefits in interconnecting the Southern African Power Pool and the East African Power Pool (EAPP). A greater energy mix will most certainly strengthen energy security in these regions. Currently, common operating standards are being put together in to create a harmonious interconnection process.

In response to the recent rapid development in industry in southern Africa, there is a growing need for more power. In order to boost development in capacity projects, a project advisory unit was developed which focuses on receiving funds and entice the region to package and implement projects effectively. “The unit’s aim is to package projects in order to increase generation capacity in the region.” Musaba says there will also be a unit which will assist with building skills for project preparation and implementation.