ZIMBABWE requires huge investments in power generation and more independent power producers (IPPs) to ease electricity challenges currently besetting the economy, University of Cape Town Professor Anton Eberhard has said.
A professor in the Management Programme in Infrastructure Reform and Regulation, Eberhard, told journalists, at the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) breakfast meeting last week that there was need for more investment in IPPs to reduce the energy deficit.
“The biggest problem in Zimbabwe is there is not enough power generation capacity to meet demand, but there is need to bring investment into the country,” Eberhard said.
Currently Zimbabwe requires about 2 200 megawatts during peak hours, but only generates around 1 400MW, with the shortfall imported from the region.
Eberhard said Zimbabwe should find ways of bringing more independent power producers and also to build additional small hydropower stations that could produce at least 6MW.
Zera has licensed a number of IPPs, but are yet to begin generating power.
Eberhard said in the past the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) used to have surplus electricity that other countries could buy, but now most of these countries were now in demand for electricity.
“It is true that in the past the SAAP has had surplus electricity that other countries could buy, now most countries are now in demand, there is need to accelerate investment,” Eberhard said.
He, however, said the current electricity tariffs in Zimbabwe were now reasonably close to those charged by other countries in the region.
“The tariff situation in Zimbabwe is getting close to what it should be: cost-reflective pricing,” Eberhard said.
Elberhard said the tariffs in the region were between 10 cents and 14 cents per unit while in Zimbabwe it cost about 9 cents per unit.