A LOCAL company is seeking approval from the Zimbabwe Energy and Regulatory Authority (Zera) to build a gas-fired power plant in Mutare, a move that would help ease the national power crisis.
In a recent notice, Zera said Shilands Enterprise Private Limited wants to build a power plant at Arda Transau Estate in Mutare.
“Shilands Enterprise Private Limited wants to construct, own, operate and maintain a 345MW (megawatts) gas-fired (open cycle gas turbines) power plant for the purpose of generation and supply of electricity in Zimbabwe,” Zera said giving two weeks for those opposed to the venture to lodge their submissions.
The country is facing a power crisis as electricity generated is inadequate to meet the demand. As of Friday, the country was generating 1 318MW daily against demand of over 2 000MW.
The demand could have been much higher had a number of companies not closed shops due to the harsh economic environment. This has forced government to turn to independant power produces (IPPs) to plug the gap in the wake of dwindling imports.
But IPPs have failed to rise to the challenge with government accusing them of failing to take off despite being licenced.
In June, Energy and Power Development permanent secretary Partson Mbiriri told an energy indaba that eight of the 22 licenced IPPs were operating adding that government had developed a draft plan to guide the sequencing of IPPs.
“Licensing of power projects is currently based on unsolicited bids. However, the government has now developed a draft system development plan (SDP) which will in future guide the sequencing of projects and is expected to be approved by end of 2015,” Mbiriri said
He said the ministry would not be giving out licences until the IPPs proved they had the capacity to undertake the power generation projects.
The Zimbabwe Power Company is working on expansion works at Hwange and Kariba power stations, a move that would result in the addition of 900MW onto the national grid.
Expansions at Hwange will create two units of 300MW each at a total cost of $1,5 billion. Expansions at Kariba will create two units of 150MW each at a total cost of $355 million. But these projects take three-and-a-half years to complete justifying government’s impatience with the slow start of IPPs.