ZIMBABWE’S power woes could be a thing of the past should government strike a deal with the United Arab Emirates which could materialise amid expectations that the deal could double the power generation in the country, a senior government official has said.
REPORT BY VICTORIA MTOMBA
Speaking at a two-day energy efficiency and renewable energy policy and technology conference in the capital yesterday, Energy secretary Partson Mbiriri said the food security project between Zimbabwe and Emirates would generate 5 000 megawatts (MW) of power.
“We are expecting to roll out major small hydro power stations with one related to food security being financed by the Emirates. I am told that has a potential of producing 5 000 megawatts from hydro power, double our current demand. Once it’s on, we can go to sleep on the assurance that the plant will continue . . .”
This comes after Zimbabwe and the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimar of the United Arab Emirates in March signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together in six areas of co-operation. The areas covered under the MoU include mining, health, energy, tourism, agriculture and industry and commerce.
Zimbabwe was represented by Vice-President Joice Mujuru while Sheikh Saud Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi stood in for Ras Al Khaimar. Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu signed another MoU on behalf of Zimbabwe with a representative of Ras Resources (LLC) Farzana Gul.
“The generation of power would be realised through food nutrition under the irrigation. It is from the fields that small hydro power stations would be installed on a number of irrigation schemes. The Emirates would finance the power generation component,” Mbiriri said.
He said the country was in need of power generation as less power was being produced against high demand.
Mbiriri said Kariba Power Station was producing 750MW compared to/against an installed capacity of 950MW while Hwange was producing 510MW. The country requires a total of 2 200MW of power against an output of 1 200MW.
“The fifth unit at Hwange would be fired today (yesterday). Material improvements have been made. I was in Hwange yesterday (Wednesday) to pat the employees on the back on the good work they are doing. They sometimes work for 24 hours,” he said.
He said small thermal power stations were producing 54MW per day due to the unavailability of coal. Harare Thermal Station was not firing due to the unavailability of coal.
“Makomo and Coal Bricks mines are making efforts towards these challenges, ” he said.
Speaking at the same conference Zimbabwe, Energy and Regulatory Authority (Zera) chief executive officer Gloria Magombo the country has an energy gap that had to be met through energy efficiency initiatives.
Magombo said according to the energy analysis gap done in 2009, the national access to energy is 36,9% while it’s 13,3% for the rural areas. He said the renewable energy use for the country was at 50% while 5,8% of rural households have access to modern energy. Usage of solar home systems is currently at 18,1%.
Meanwhile, the government is yet to resume mandatory blending of E5 after the completion of partnership between government and Green Fuel.
Mbiriri said the partnership for E5 would be 51% -49% for government and Green Fuel respectively. He said the statutory instrument for E5 had been gazetted and government had proceeded to install blending facility at Msasa and Ferruka where 90% of the fuel is coming from.
“Government decided that we should have mandatory blending of ethanol produced by a company that had a government shareholding. If it’s mandatory, then government must have a stake in it. The joint venture has not moved forward in respect of E5 it has not come to fruition. That is holding back the marriage,” he said.