Lighting the way to Vision 2030

09 Feb, 2024 - 00:02 0 Views
Lighting the way to Vision 2030 Six IPPs operating in Mutasa, under Nyangani Renewable Energy (PVT) Ltd, are generating 30MW and feeding into the national grid

The ManicaPost


Samuel Kadungure
Senior Reporter

ACCESS to stable and reliable electricity is key to the actualisation of Vision 2030 by virtue of being a key enabler for industrial development, social welfare and improved healthcare, and its facilitative role as the world becomes more modernised.

With an installed electricity generation capacity of 2 540-megawatt, the country is, however, unable to generate enough, resulting in episode of power cuts and load shedding — due to a combination of climate change, aging infrastructure and equipment breakdowns.

Of the 2 540MW, about 1 400MW comes from thermal power plants and the remainder from hydropower plants.

Zimbabwe experienced power shortages as output from its largest power plant — Kariba South Hydro Station — along Zambezi River — which produces 1 050MW — was plagued by successive climate change-induced droughts, leaving the country to import power from Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa.

Significant strides have been made to address this challenge in line with the National Development Strategy (NDS1), which is targeting an installed generation capacity of 3 467MW by Year 2025 and the construction of 280km of transmission and distribution lines through the completion of ongoing energy projects and construction of new power generating capacity and upgrading, rehabilitation and maintenance of the existing energy infrastructure.

Government is investing in renewable energy sources like solar power, gas power plants, hydropower and harnessing more electricity from Independent Power Producers (IPPs) and imports to improve the people’s quality of life and spur economic growth.

In 2021, 3 316 of the country’s 5 324 primary schools (62 percent), 1 637 of 2 213 secondary schools (74 percent), 1 217 of 1 365 health centres (90 percent), 267 of 289 chieftainship homesteads (92 percent) and 20 percent of rural households had been electrified across the country. Of these, 1 882 institutions are in Manicaland.

In 2020, overall energy access expanded from 32 to 53 percent, driven by a rapid rise in access in rural areas (from eight up to 37 percent), though available generation capacity was 1 585MW against a peak demand of 1 900MW.

The medium-term World Bank projections suggested that electricity demand will grow from 1 950mw in 2022 to 5 177MW by 2030, driven primarily by increasing demand from mining and agriculture sectors.

Achieving this goal requires annual connections to increase from 25 000 in 2020 to about 537 000 annually.


The associated grid network expansion were estimated to cost US$4.4 billion in 2030.

The biggest planned increase in electricity supply will come from the Batoka Gorge Project along the border with Zambia (1 200MW), projected for completion in 2034, and the Devil’s Gorge, 1 200MW to be completed by 2040.

The country’s economic potential is underpinned by the best solar radiation, vast biofuels, significant wind potential, perennial rivers for small hydro projects and coal bed methane deposits.

Last year, Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution Company (ZETDC) and HDF Energy of France, signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) worth US$300 million to develop a green hydrogen power plant, which is expected to lure more IPPs into the country.

Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA)’s recent report highlighted that IPPs contributed 4.5 percent of the total energy production in 2022.

It said IPPs grid contribution increased by 193 percent from 131.31GWh in 2021 to 385.38GWh in 2022, mainly due to new capacity at Zimbabwe Zhongxin Electrical Energy (ZZEE) and Solgas and increased rain at mini hydro plants.

“The total number of new connections in 2022 increased by 18 percent over 2021, and this is attributed to customers procuring own accessory materials used for connections. The active customer base by the end of 2022 increased by eight percent to 852 003 in 2022 from 789 394 in2021. The increase in active customers is attributed to the rebound of the economy,” it reads.


Completion of the US$1.5 billion Hwange Power Station Unit Seven and Eight and their synchronization saw additional 600MW being fed into the national grid, significantly reducing load shedding in the country.

The Hwange Expansion Project is the biggest energy investment since independence.
Energy and Power Development Ministry launched the National Renewable Energy Policy (NREP), setting overall targets based on the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) as one of its primary objectives.

These interventions align to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), demand-supply scenario, grid absorption capacity, and the ability of utilities to pay for renewable energy electricity.


Tsanga A Hydro-electricity Power Station in Nyanga

Tsanga A Hydro-electricity Power Station in Nyanga

The policy aims to achieve an installed renewable energy capacity of 1 100MW or 16.5 percent of total electricity supply by 2025 and 2 100MW or 26.5 percent of total electricity supply by 2030.


The country shall install about 250 000 solar geysers in old and new buildings by 2030.

“Electricity supply increased marginally (five percent) to a total of 10 710GWh of energy in 2022 against 10 193GWh of 2021.There, however, continues to be a deficit in supply and measures to mitigate this include attracting new investment and risk mitigation in the form of government support. IPPs contributed only 4.5 percent of the total energy production in 2022. To accelerate renewable energy penetration, (ZERA) increased the net metering maximum participation threshold to 5MW from 100kW, allowing more consumers with excess generation to be exported to the grid.

“The initial response to the scheme was encouraging as 5MW was linked to the grid by the end of 2022.This scheme is expected to be expanded further through the introduction of virtual net metering, whereby the energy credits can be passed to other accounts not necessarily linked to the meter with generation,” reads the report.

The country wants more individuals, companies, IPPs, and even schools to sell the excess power they generate via net metering system, launched in 2020, to allow those who produce private renewable energy to transfer excess generation to the national grid in return for electricity credits they can use when they do not have sufficient supplies.

The 2021-2025 ZERA Strategic Plan seeks to increase the number of operational IPPs from the current 30 to 90; increase energy efficiency by 10 percent and improve uptake of renewable energy technological innovations.

RioZim is developing a 2 800MW coal power station in Sengwa (US$3 billion), which ran into turbulence in 2022 when the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), withdrew its support. Also in the pipeline is the proposed 2100MW Lusulu Thermal Power Project.

Further, Government has secured a US$310 million loan from India’s Export-Import Bank to fund the life extension of six units at Hwange Coal Power Station by up to 25 years.

The project will restore generation to 96 percent of its 920MW capacity by Year 2028.

Zimbabwe has launched a US$30 million renewable energy fund as part of a United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) initiative to regular small and medium-sized firms for renewable projects.

It has also announced incentives to support US$1 billion of privately-owned solar energy projects by IPPs, covering 27 projects with a cumulative capacity of about 1 000MW.

China Energy Engineering Corporation proposed to construct a 1 000MW solar plant at Kariba Dam at a cost of US$1b, while other Chinese companies have signed agreements for solar projects totalling at least 350MW according to the International Institute of Green Finance at China’s Central University of Finance and Economics.

Chinese firm, Yaowei Technology also plans to establish a US$15 million solar panel manufacturing plant in the country that will produce 500 solar panels daily.

Six IPPs operating in Mutasa, under Nyangani Renewable Energy (PVT) Ltd, are generating 30MW and feeding into the national grind.

Other projects include GreenFuel’s ethanol plant in Chipinge, as well as Tsanga B Power Station in Nyanga.

The Pungwe B run-of-the-river hydro-power plant produces 15MW; Nyamhingura (1.1MW); Pungwe A (2.7MW), Duru (2.2MW), Pungwe C (3.7MW) and Hauna (2.1MW).

The Infrastructure Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) is also working on the Osborne Mini-hydro Power Project that will see 2.5MW being fed into the national grid.

Some investors are lining up for potential mini-hydro sites along Odzani River in Penhalonga, A 12-hectare solar farm in Sherukuru will produce 10MW, while 24ha piece of land in Vumbunu will produce 30MW.


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