Home » Business » Zim Eyes 7 000 MW for Region

ZIMBABWE will provide 7 000 megawatts into the region by 2022 if electricity generation projects the country has embarked on are completed, a senior Government official has said.In his keynote address at the 11th Conference and Annual General Meeting of the Regional Electricity Regulators Association of Southern Africa being held in Victoria Falls, Energy and Power Development permanent secretary Partson Mbiriri said Government’s approach was to look beyond the Zimbabwean market in terms of energy supply as it views the region as a potential consumer.

“These projects include the Batoka Project, Kariba South Hydro Power Extension, Hwange Power Station Expansion and several Independent Power Producers which have been licensed to generate power into the grid,” he said.

“Zimbabwe is centrally located in the region which makes it a central hub in terms of energy wheeling and interconnections. The country has embarked on several projects which are likely to provide about 7 000MW into the regional grid by 2022.”

According to the Southern African Power Pool, the region is currently experiencing a deficit in power supply. Demand for power in the region has been increasing at an average rate of 3 percent per annum.

“Unfortunately, there has been no corresponding investments in generation and transmission infrastructure, (11 605MW generation added from 2004 to 2013) resulting in the current supply deficit that the region is experiencing,” said SAPP in its report to the conference.

The region has a deficit of 2 758MW from available capacity of 52 669MW.

“However, the countries in the region committed to add new generation capacity which will result in 11 605MW by 2021 at an average of 1 160MW per year,” said Mr Mbiriri.

Mr Mbiriri said the country was already implementing the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation and energy efficiency initiatives to save up to 300MW of power.

“The recent introduction of pre-paid meters has also seen consumers managing their energy consumption efficiently. These measures are expected to release more energy into the grid thus increasing access to electricity and reducing the level of load shedding as current demand for electricity continues to outstrip supply,” he said, adding that Government was committed to supporting the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority on its role of creating an enabling environment.

Mr Mbiriri said through the implementation of energy policy strategies, ZERA was expected to ensure the energy sector’s potential to drive economic growth and reduce poverty is fully harnessed. In line with resolutions made at the 2013 Sadc Ministers of Energy in Lesotho, he said it was imperative for the region to address cost reflective tariffs to upscale financial investment.

“The tariffs have to incorporate safety nets in order to protect vulnerable members of the society. Reflective tariffs will go a long way in making the region more competitive and attractive to private sector investments.”

He said in prioritising project implementation, it was critical to consider scaling up energy efficiency interventions and new renewable energy technologies notwithstanding their real high costs. Sadc is endowed with vast and diverse energy resources such as hydro, coal, gas, and solar.

Despite having vast and diverse energy resources, Mr Mbiriri noted that Sadc lags behind other Regional Economic Communities in respect of overall access to electricity. According to statistics about 30 percent of Sadc residents have access to electricity compared to 36 percent in the Eastern African Community and 44 percent in the Economic Community for WEST African States.

“These statistics are worrisome as the region is endowed with abundant perennial rivers which present opportunities for small to large hydro projects. The region is also rich in fossil resources for energy, gas, solar and wind,” he said.

Source : The Herald

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