Zera licenses 51 IPPs
Walter Mswazie recently in Bikita
THE Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) has licensed 51 independent power producers across the country in the last five years to date with most of them at different stages of implementation.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Zonful Power Energy programme launch at a lodge in Bikita on Friday, Zera acting chief executive Engineer Eddington Tapera Mazambani said the authority had given operating licences to many independent power producers but some faced challenges in accessing foreign currency to implement the projects.
He partly attributed the scarcity of foreign currency to economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by some Western nations.
The company that was licensed to establish a 5MW hydro power plant at the massive Tugwi-Mukosi Dam in Masvingo was expected to commence work before year end.
“As an authority that regulates all energy production in the country, we have licensed 51 power producers to generate electricity in the last five years.
“This year we look forward to license 12 after we licensed 11 independent power producers in 2018,” said Eng Mazambani.
“For Masvingo, apart from Tugwi-Mukosi, we have licensed three other independent power producers for Lake Mutirikwi and Nuanetsi, which had some contestations but is now ready to start and Mkwasine project in Chiredzi District.
“The Hwange project is already in motion, Kariba is complete while other projects in Manicaland and other areas are at different stages of implementation.”
He said some projects included Duru mini hydro (2,20MW), Green Fuel (18,30MW), Nyamhingura mini hydro (1,10MW), Hippo Valley Estates (33MW), Triangle Estates (45MW) and Pungwe Power Station (19MW), among others.
Mr Mazambani said most of the projects were in Manicaland given the proven idealness of the mountainous terrains in mini-hydro power generation.
He, however, said the Lake Mutirikwi project had stalled over challenges to do with the tariff issues between the investors and Zera but that has since been resolved.
“Like what I have said most projects are taking long to be implemented because the job is capital intensive.
“There have also been issues to do with accessing foreign currency due to restrictive measures that our country is subjected to.
“We also had challenges on tariff rates with an investor who wants to install a 5MW plant at Lake Mutirikwi. I am, however, now happy that has since been resolved and everything is back on track,” he said.
Commenting on the advent of the solar power initiative, Eng Mazambani said:
“I hail Zonful Power Energy for improving access to renewable energy to rural communities.
“This will also address the power deficit in the country”.
Zimbabwe’s demand for power stands at about 1 600MW but the country produces only 1 000MW and the deficit is being covered by imports from the region.
The country needs about US$5 billion to address its power deficit.
According to Zera, independent power producers contribute 137,08 gigawatt hours to the national grid.