HARARE – Zimbabwe seeks to partner regional power utilities and private investors in new energy projects, as part of efforts to boost its electricity supply.
The southern African country — currently generating around 1 300 megawatts (MW) against a peak demand of 2 200 MW — plans to increase capacity to 6 600 MW, according to Zimbabwe Power Company (ZPC), a subsidiary of power utility Zesa Holdings.
“There is need for investments to be made in order to increase the amount of reliable capacity.
“The increase in reliable capacity should be made available at a competitive price,” said ZPC’s managing director Noah Gwariro.
This comes as Zimbabwe requires $5,8 billion to finance power generation projects.
In 2007, the country partnered Namibia’s NamPower to refurbish Hwange Power Station.
Gwariro said they were considering various options to finance the capital intensive projects including public and private sector partnerships (PPPs) to augment capacity.
“Zimbabwe has vast energy sources at its disposal to increase generation capacity. The increase in capacity has to be done at an affordable price,” he said.
Of the required $5,8 billion, investment, $2,2 billion will be channelled into Batoka Gorge Hydro- Power Plant, a joint venture between Zambia and Zimbabwe, towards the construction of four by 200 MW generating units along the Zambezi River.
Zambia will be obliged to provide an additional 800 MW to make it a total output of 1600 MW for the ambitious project expected to be completed in six years time from the date of commencement of construction.
“Currently there are bids for review of Environmental and Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) and engineering feasibility studies,” said Gwariro on the status of the Batoka project.
He pointed out that they had completed a loan evaluation from China Exim Bank to loan 90 percent of engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract of Kariba Hydro Power Station expansion.
The estimated cost of the Kariba South extension is $400 million.
“ZPC is to finance the remaining 10 percent. Design review in progress in parallel with financial close processes. We expect financial closure in December 2013,” said Gwariro.
The country has five power stations, namely Kariba and four thermal power stations — Bulawayo, Harare, Hwange and Munyati.
Kariba is currently generating 37,28 percent, Hwange 28,67 percent, Bulawayo 1,2 percent, Munyati 1,4 percent and Harare 0,4 percent while imports contribute 13,22 percent.
While 17,69 percent represents the shortfall.
Zimbabwe has vast energy sources at its disposal to increase generation capacity and these include coal —thermal power stations, coal bed methane — thermal power stations, hydropower and solar energy.