SADC’s main source of renewable energy for electricity generation is large-scale hydropower. However, interest in solar (particularly photovoltaics) and wind energy technologies is growing, ranging from small-scale household PV panel arrays, to large-scale operations such as the 138 MW Jeffrey’s Bay wind farm in South Africa.
The use of renewable energy in the SADC power sector is increasing rapidly, and renewables now account for approximately 23.5% of generation, including commercial biomass and hydro, of which hydro is by far the major source. Current potential hydro resources in the region amount to just under 41,000 MW (not including major expansion on the Congo River). Installed hydro capacity is just under 12,000 MW, representing about 21.5% of total electricity capacity; of this, 97.6% is large-scale hydro.
The existing projects and those planned for development in the six riverine countries – Angola, the DRC, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe – have a total potential capacity of 21,580 MW. Of this total, 61% is undeveloped at present. The largest operational projects are Cahora Bassa in Mozambique (1,920 MW), Inga I and II in the DRC (1,775 MW), Kariba Dam shared by Zimbabwe and Zambia (1,470 MW), Kafue Gorge in Zambia (900 MW) and Capanda Dam in Angola (520 MW). Lesotho, Mauritius, Malawi, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Swaziland are all actively developing small-scale and micro hydro resources.