By George Maponga
The Zimbabwe Electricity Regulatory Authority (ZERA) last year issued power generation licences to nine independent power producers (IPPs) with a potential to produce a cumulative 260 megawatts (MW) of electricity.
Two of the licences were for the establishment of mini-hydro power plants, while six were for solar photovoltaic (PV) projects. One of the licences was for a hybrid solar and diesel venture. ZERA acting chief executive officer Mr Eddington Mazambani said it was feasible for IPPs to run their projects viably as the existing power tariff regime was blended for power sourced both locally and outside the country.
“In 2017, ZERA issued nine licences, being two for mini-hydro, one hybrid solar/diesel and six solar PV projects. The combined installed capacity of all the projects licensed in 2017 is 256,6 megawatts,” he said. Mr Mazambani said there were already projects feeding power into the local grid.
“It is feasible for independent power producers to run projects in the country as the final tariff charged to consumers of electricity is a blended tariff from different sources both locally and from the region.
“Currently, some projects (power generation) are already feeding into the grid through power purchase agreements signed with the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company,” he said.
Mr Mazambani also indicated the final feasibility study for the 2 400 megawatt Batoka Power Project – to be co-shared with Zambia – was being concluded, with funding for the undertaking expected to be raised from international financiers.
The mooted $2,4 billion coal-fired Sengwa thermal electricity plant, he also said, was still at fundraising stage and was expected to kick off once the required finances had been mobilised.
Government has been working to reduce the country’s power import bill by embarking on new power generation projects that will make Zimbabwe a net power exporter.The country currently produces around 1 400MW of electricity against average demand of about 2 000MW.
Expansion of Kariba South Power Station, which is already contributing 150MW of the expected 300MW, is nearing completion. The Herald