Solar energy projects dominate IPPs: ZERA

09 May, 2022 - 00:05 0 Views
Solar energy projects dominate IPPs: ZERA

eBusiness Weekly

Business Reporter

The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) says a total 14 independent power producers (IPPs) with a capacity of 95,99 MW are currently contributing to the country’s national grid with several other projects at different levels of implementation as the country moves towards achieving energy efficiency.

According to ZERA, renewable energy technologies now dominate the licenced power projects in line with the country’s quest for increased cleaner and sustainable power supplies by the year 2025.

Zimbabwe has no shortage of sunlight, which primes the country well in the push for green energy use.

The country’s installed capacity of renewable energy excluding large-scale hydropower is expected to increase from about five percent in 2017 to about twenty-seven percent in 2030″.

Eddington Mazambani, Zera’s chief executive, told the Sunday mail Business that as of January 2021 to date, 19 electiricity generation licences were issued with a capacity of 563,49506 MW.

“Further, 23 new licence applications were received during the course of the year 2021 to date with a total capacity of 446,99466 MW.

“Four were for captive power, 12 for own consumption and seven for selling power to the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC),” he said.

Mazambani added that the authority continues to routinely monitor these projects quarterly to ensure they are adhering to the conditions of their licences.

According to Zera, solar energy is now widely and commonly used in Zimbabwe as an alternative source of energy.

Mazamabani said there are also a number of IPPs that are also predominantly solar powered projects.

Old Mutual Zimbabwe recently said it will continue to invest in more solar energy projects in order to bridge the gaps in the country’s energy supply.

The group and its partner SolGas early in the year commissioned the US$7,3 million SolGas Energy 5 megawatt (MW) solar plant at Cross Mabale in Hwange district.

“We are open to invest in more green energy projects subject to them being viable and such projects meeting certain minimum criteria among them, sustainability of the arrangements. Therefore, we do have some projects that you may see in the near future which are already underway,” Samuel Matsekete, the group’s chief executive said in a post analyst briefing recently.

Zimbabwe has a peak electricity demand of 1,600 MW against an average of 1,200 MW that it is currently generating with the shortfall covered through imports.

Electricity demand is expected to peak at 2,000 MW by the end of 2023 as demand is surging due to increased economic activity in various sectors that include mining, housing development and construction.

According to the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1), energy is a key enabler to the acceleration of the country’s modernization and industrialization agenda as well as sustainable socioeconomic growth.

To address perennial power shortages in the country, the Government is undertaking several electricity generation projects, most of which are funded by extra-budgetary funds, loans and the private sector.

In line with NDS1, providing reliable and low cost energy access is the government’s top priority and an efficient energy supply sector is in line with the government’s intention to provide economic growth and stability.

As a result, the Government intends to increase Zimbabwe’s overall electricity supply from 2317MW installed capacity to 3467MW by 2025, being over a 1000 MW in less than four years.

In addition, the government wishes to construct 280km of electricity transmission lines across the country with the main aim of stopping all electricity imports by 2025.

Energy and Power Development Minister Zhemu Soda, in an interview in January, said the Government is optimistic to achieve the goal of energy efficiency by the set timeframe.

He said the government is also finalizing the Rural Electrification plan that would make the Rural Electrification Agency efficient and effective.

He said the plan will ensure that most rural areas are electrified through mini solar grids, in order to reduce pressure on the national grid.

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