Sunday Mail Reporter
TWENTY-THREE independent power producers (IPPs), of which two are already feeding 1,2 megawatts (MW) to the grid, have been licensed by the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) since the beginning of the year.
The projects have a combined installed capacity of 605MW. Companies moving to insulate themselves from unreliable power supplies from Zimbabwe Elecricity Transmission and Distibution Company (ZETDC) — the country’s major producer and supplier of power — also make up part of the IPPs.
ZERA acting chief executive officer Engineer Eddington Mazambani told The Sunday Mail the projects were currently at different stages of implementation.
“Two are now operational, with a capacity of 1,19MW; 15 are at feasibility and technical studies, with a total capacity of 460,8MW, while two are now at pre-feasibility stage, and they have a total capacity of 86MW,” he said.
“Three IPPs are at funding stage, with a capacity of 7,6MW, and two are at construction stage and they can produce 55MW.”
The IPPs plan to tap energy from both renewable and non-renewable energy sources such as hydro, solar, coal, gas and diesel, thereby diversifying the country’s energy mix.
Over the years, there have been concerns over the failure of many licensed IPPs to take off.
Eng Mazambani said: “No licences have been revoked as yet, but currently Zera initiated the process leading to the possible revocation of some licences as provided by Section 51 of the Electricity Act.”
Daily demand for electricity presently stands at 1 585MW.
The drought that plagued the 2018/2019 season —regarded by the United Nations as the worst to affect the region since 1981 — has led to a sharp decline in water levels in Kariba Dam, and, by extension, reduced generation at Kariba Power Station from the previous 1 050MW to the current 300MW.
Licensing of IPPs is part of efforts to reduce the country’s import bill.