By Alois Vinga
ZIMBABWE Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) has to date issued over 70 independent power producing licences as the country’s companies are moving to seek permanent protection from the current electricity outages.
Speaking at an energy workshop in Harare Thursday, Energy Minister Fortune Chasi said that his ministry has been inundated with new applications and was working flat out to assist the applicants.
“Despite numerous challenges, Zimbabwe has attracted significant Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and continues to do so,” Chasi said.
“As of 31 July 2019, ZERA has issued more than 77 power generation licences; 70 of these are IPPs while 42 alone are for solar power projects.
“Our thrust and one of the main drivers in coming up with National Renewable Energy Policy is to have more IPPs and to have private sector driven investments into the energy sector.”
Chasi said there was a total of 42 licenced solar projects, four operational projects including three small IPP projects, and more than five rooftop solar systems by Econet trading as Distributed Power Africa (DPA).
He said the other 38 projects were under development.
The projects are negotiating for funding with investors and a few have reached financial closure, the Minister said.
Chasi said some of the companies which have invested in solar are Beitbridge based Nottingham Estates (Pvt) Ltd with a capacity of 1.5MW, Padenga Holdings (Pvt) Ltd with a capacity of 0.33MW in Kariba, Riverside Power Station with a capacity of 2.5MW in Mutoko and Distributed Power Africa (Econet) rooftop projects which are above 1MW.
He said there are four operational biomass projects with total capacity of 92.8MW and three thermal projects and 1 Wood waste project.
“These are Triangle (Pvt) Ltd with a capacity of 33MW Hippo Valley Estates (Ltd) with a capacity of 45MW Green Fuel (Pvt) Ltd with a capacity of 18MW Border Timbers with capacity of 0.5MW with a total capacity about 97MW and they are generating energy for their own consumption,” he said.
Zimbabwe has seen a sharp increase in the renewable energy sector investments due to current electricity outages which are running for more than 12 hours a day, thereby prompting the need for exploring alternative sources of energy.