GOVERNMENT has identified a consultant to start work on the Independent Power Producers (IPPs) Framework aimed at promoting investment in the energy sector and also introduce the concept of competitive bidding when procuring renewable energy, particularly solar and wind.
The IPP framework will assist independent power producers to establish their projects without much hassle, as well as safeguard their interests. Secretary in the Ministry of Energy and Power Development, Dr Gloria Magombo, told our Harare Bureau, that Government was working on ways to speed up the launch of the framework, which has been delayed by foreign currency shortages.
“In relation to the IPPs framework we have identified a consultant who is going to work on it and we will be soon announcing the start of the policy. The delay has been caused by lack of foreign currency but we will work on ways of how to address it,” said Dr Magombo.
She, however, highlighted that with the launch of the renewable energy policy as well as national energy plan, the country should start realising independent investments into the sector until such a time when the IPPs policy is launched.“…but we believe that when we launch the Renewable Energy Policy (next month) and look at the other projects that we are doing which is the National Energy Plan, that for now will suffice together with the framework that we have to push for the IPPs, we think we have sufficient policy frameworks to allow IPPs to come in and contribute into the sector,” she said.
The development also comes as Zimbabwe is making headways towards achieving its own internal power generation and supply capacity to support a growing economy. At the height of power shortages in Zimbabwe, the country imported an average of 350-450MW from Mozambique and South Africa, which required between US$30 million and US$40 million of scarce foreign currency.
Last month, real construction work begun on the US$1,4 billion Hwange Power Station 7 and 8 expansion project, following the first pour of concrete into the foundation of the power house, which will accommodate two generators for the new power plant.
When complete, the project will add 600 megawatts to the national power grid, and is anticipated to create over 3 000 jobs at the peak of its implementation in 2021.
Government is by the end of this year expecting to commission three IPPs which will feed a cumulative capacity of 30 megawatt to the national grid.— BH24.