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4.3 Prospects of Pan-Africa Interconnection

Africa continent extends from about the Latitude 35 north of the equator to about the latitude 35 south of the equator. Whenever the electric power systems in Africa are interconnected, the resulting system would enjoy the advantage of exchanging the winter season peak and the summer season peak across the electricity networks. Africa also extends from east to west within four time zones, thus would enjoy the diversity of the daily maximum demand whenever the power systems are interconnected.

At the extreme north, are the Mediterranean countries of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. Existing, planned and possibilities of interconnecting their power systems have been discussed in another section.

The main power system in the south is that of the Republic of South Africa. The high voltage transmission system includes sub-systems with nominal voltage levels of 132 kV, 220 kV, 400 kV alternating current and also at +,- 533 kV direct current. The South Africa Electric Utility (ESKOM) exports power to Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland.

Pan-Africa Interconnection

Pan-Africa Interconnection

Other transmission systems in southern Africa which cross the international boundaries include a 132 kV line from Cahora Bassa hydro-electric station in Mozambique to South Africa and a transmission line from Inga hydro-electric station in Zaire to Zambia.

Potentials at Inga falls on the Zaire River can generate 40000 MW with damming the river and could be extended to the order of 100 000 MW. Plans are being studied to construct a transmission line which will run southwards to Angola then connect to the network of Namibia which is, in turn, connected to the network of the Republic of South Africa. Visions for a southern African power grid also extend to include eastern and western Africa. In the east, interconnection between Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya is a possibility.

In West Africa, the hydroelectric power of Inga falls in Zaire could be tapped off via the transmission line which is planned to go northwards to Morocco, to supply the West African countries. These include Gabon, and Cameroon, then the region from Nigeria to the Ivory Coast. This transmission system could also be tapped to supply the countries in the far west up to Mauritania.

The Inga hydroelectric power plant would thus be the main source of power which is common to the power network in southern Africa and to the power network of northern Africa. A pan Africa power network would thus be established.

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