Southern African Power Market--Project Information Document (PID)
Cooperation in the electricity sector is not a new phenomenon in the Southern African region. One of the first bilateral cooperative projects was the construction of a transmission line between Nseke in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Kitwe in Zambia in 1958, to supply electricity to Zambian copper mines. This was followed by the construction of the Kariba darn and associated hydro-electric power stations, one in Zambia, the other in Zimbabwe, that interconnected the two countries' power systems. SADC, recognizing the importance of energy to the development of the region, created a Technical and Administrative Unit (TAU) in 1980 to act as a coordinating agency for the regional energy sector. In 1990 SADC established the Electricity Sub-Committee (ESC), a forum for the regional power utilities to discuss and plan the improvement of regional electricity supply. Power exchange among the countries was becoming a priority because of the uneven distribution of power resources in the region: a large reserve of low-cost hydro-electricity in the northern part (especially Inga in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cahora-Bassa in Mozambique, and the Kariba dam on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe), and large reserves of cheap coal in South Africa. Countries such as Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe have no low cost, indigenous sources of electricity.
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