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Energy developer seeks to increase power generation

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THE Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) has received an application for the amendment of conditions to a licence granted to a private player working on a renewable energy project in Rusitu, Manicaland.

KUDZAI CHIMHANGWA

Earlier this year, Kupinga Renewable Energy was anticipated to commence full-scale construction of the hydro-power plant, but following recommendations on the project by its original equipment manufacturer, Gilkes of the United Kingdom, the project has had to be revisited.

The company is seeking to amend the generation capacity of the power plant from the original 1,5 megawatts (MW) applied for to 1,6MW.

Kupinga Renewable Energy’s 25-year licence is granted to construct, own, operate and maintain a 1,5MW mini hydro-power station for the purpose of generation and supply of electricity in Zimbabwe.

“Kupinga is also seeking to amend the conditions of the licence in schedule 3,” the authority said and this would be done by deletion of certain conditions.

These include project funding approval which was supposed to be granted by May this year, design works to run concurrently with construction and scheduled to be completed by the end of this month. Other conditions for which amendment is sought include commencement of construction which was supposed to be by May this year and commissioning of the power station by February 2015.

Kupinga is instead seeking to substitute this with new conditions with financial closure anticipated to be reached in three months from the date of approval of the Power Purchase Agreement and tariff by the Zera.

Commencement of construction should be immediately after financial closure while commissioning of the power plant should be done one month after completion of construction.

“The application for amendment of the licence by Kupinga Renewable Energy is being done in terms of Section 49(1) (b) of the Electricity Act,” Zera said.

The Kupinga hydro-electric station is expected to assist rural communities in the district to access electricity while business opportunities will flourish in the agro-based area.

It is reported that the Rusitu Hydro-electric Project was developed on the Rusitu River, in then Rhodesia in the early 1970s.

It was expected to be commissioned in the mid-70s and was anticipated to feed into the Mutare-to-Chipinge link, but was abandoned.

Zera has to date licenced a number of renewable energy projects which include Nyamingura Renewable Energy small hydro project (1,1MW), Duru (2,2MW) and Pungwe A (2,7MW).

One of the latest licensed projects is the Nyangani Renewable Energy (NRE) small hydro-power station in Honde Valley with a total installed capacity of 6MW.

NRE is also developing a 15MW hydro-station yet to be commissioned.

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