The energy landscape in Southern Africa has been rapidly evolving over the last decades. An economy-wide transition to sustainability is underway, with energy at its core. In addition, a progressive movement of regional integration with numerous energy-related initiatives is taking place, principally through the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP). At the same time, electricity supply industries in the region are restructuring, with the emergence of independent power producers and increased individualism. These dynamics call for a renewed approach to regional electricity integration in support of sustainable energy development and a critical analysis of regional electricity dynamics with the aim of improving regional sustainability.
Against this background, this paper reviews the performance of the SAPP region through an electricity sustainability prism of analysis. Three key dimensions are considered to assess electricity sustainability in the region: electricity security; electricity equity; and environmental sustainability. The paper then analyses the existing role of regional integration in terms of electricity sustainability in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region and explores the potential to improve Southern Africa’s electricity sustainability through regional integration channels.