HARARE (miningweekly.com) – Zimbabwe is continuing to invest in new power generation capacity to close its supply gap, officials from the energy regulatory authority and national power supplier told delegates at the yearly Mining Indaba in Harare on Thursday.
Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) chairperson Canada Malunga said the government had launched its National Energy Policy (NEP) last week, outlining the strategies and measures for increasing electricity capacity.
Zimbabwe has set a target of 10 000 MW of installed capacity by 2040 to support a vision of growing the economy to $100-billion.
The NEP called for a capacity expansion of 800 MW at the Batoka Gorge hydropower power station by 2020, 300 MW at the Kariba South hydroelectric power station by 2016, as well as other smaller hydropower plants.
Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC) MD Noah Gwariro said the national electricity supplier’s immediate goals were to invest $900-million in existing plants to increase dependable capacity, as stipulated by the NEP. ZPC would extend the Hwange power station’s capacity by 600 MW.
The ZPC would also invest in $2-billion in new generation projects, including the construction of a 30 MW Gairezi hydro plant, the development of the Lupane gas fields for a 350 MW plant and a $500-million transmission integration project.
Gwariro said the development projects were at an advanced stage and would add 900 MW to Zimbabwe’s power mix by 2016.
Hwange and Kariba South were currently between 80% and 90% complete, with Lupane standing at about 10%.
Meanwhile, Malunga said the NEP also outlined the role of independent power producers (IPP), public-private partnerships and joint ventures in the expansion of electricity capacity.
The NEP further acknowledged the role of renewable energy technologies and Malunga said Zera was working on an IPP Policy framework to be considered by government and assisting in the development of the Renewable Energy Policy framework and drafting the feed-in tariff framework for renewable energy technologies.
The regulator has licensed various large electricity generation projects, investing in 11 new projects with a combined capacity of 5 400 MW and value of $10.1-billion.
Malunga pointed out that all the new projects were looking at trading in the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP). “Zera works closely with SAPP in coordination of regional power generation projects for optimisation of available resources in the region,” he noted.
Malunga said the sufficient power supply was important to ensuring growth in Zimbabwe’s mining sector, which had been identified by the country’s Medium Term Plan as one of the main pillars in its recovery process. “Mining operations are energy intensive and consumes 14% of electricity in Zimbabwe.”