HARARE, October 3 (The Source) – Zimbabwe needs to register more Independent Power Producers (IPPs) to meet the demand of electricity and abate shortages that have hit the manufacturing and agricultural sectors hardest, the energy minister said on Thursday.
Some areas of the country go without electricity for days while in other areas, blackouts last up 16 hours a day in recent weeks, while state-owned power utility ZESA carries out maintenance on its aging machinery.
“We have opened the sector, anyone who has the resource to set up the power generating plant should come on board and get licenced,” said energy and power development minister Dzikamai Mavhaire.
Zimbabwe has a peak demand of 2,200MW but can supply 1,167 MW, including imports from Mozambique’s Cabora Bassa, leading to severe load shedding, and Mavhaire said the only solution was to invest in new plants and bring in more IPPs although efforts are underway to increase the country’s power generation capacity.
To date the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA) has licenced more than 15 IPPs around the country with some already operating contributing to the national grid, while others are at various stages of completion.
Mavhaire said any credible investors with the capacity to set up a power plant were welcome to apply. Zimbabwe opened the power generation sector at the turn of the millennium after decades of ZESA monopoly.