WATCH: Mines given ultimatum, 2-year window to set up power plants Minister Edgar Moyo

Nqobile Tshili, [email protected]

GOVERNMENT has given large-scale miners up to 2026 to establish their own power generation plants amid projections that sustained economic growth under the Second Republic will push demand for power to above 3 000 megawatts in two years.

The massive growth mainly in mining and smelting sectors is expected to significantly increase the demand for power and put pressure on the national grid.

Following the establishment of several lithium companies and the construction of the US$1,5 billion Dinson Iron and Steel Company (Disco) plant in Manhize near Mvuma, Midlands, among several other new projects across the country, Zimbabwe will need to further boost its energy generation capacity.

In an interview on the sidelines of the Energy and Power Development Parliamentary Portfolio Committee workshop in Bulawayo yesterday, Energy and Power Development Minister, Edgar Moyo, said the Government expects power demand to surge to 3 200MW a day which is already above the country’s generation at the moment.

He said the mining sector alone was expected to consume about 2 600MW a day, agriculture 120MW and housing sectors 500MW.

Minister Moyo said in anticipation of the growth in the demand for power, the Government has set up a policy compelling some of the highly consumptive industries to set up their own power generation plants.

“We recognise that the mining sector is growing, particularly with the coming of the lithium mines. The demand for power has surged phenomenally,” he said. “And, as the Government we cannot adequately provide power alone, we need to do it with the private sector. We have approved a policy that these miners, particularly, the ferrochrome miners who are heavily subsidised, should develop their own generation plants from the renewable side. 

“We gave ferrochrome miners two years to set up their own generation plants. The time frame begins this year, which is 2024 and we expect that by 2026 they should have set up their own generation plants,” said Minister Moyo.

The last few years have seen Government increasing its attention to boosting power output with the commissioning of Hwange Unit 7 and 8 last year, coming in strongly to inject 600MW, making Hwange the country’s major supplier of electricity.

Minister Moyo said it was pleasing that some of the companies have started establishing their own solar plants and some of the projects will be commissioned before the end of the year.

“They can have their own solar plants to augment what they get from the national grid. We are going into a kind of partnership where the responsibility to provide power has to be shared between the Government and the mining companies,” he said.

Minister Moyo said by so doing, the Government will reduce the strain on the national grid thereby enabling Zesa to provide power to social amenities, which are yet to be connected.

“There are many houses that have been built and have not been connected to the grid. We also have a lot of new projects like rural industrialisation, we have small and medium enterprises yet to be connected,” said Minister Moyo.

He said the Government values the contribution by Independent Power Producers (IPPs) in addressing power shortages as they were producing nearly 100MW and the projection was that the national consumption will shoot to 3  000MW a day.

Minister Moyo said the country still has a deficit of between 200MW and 500MW depending on the days.

The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority has said the adoption of a diversified energy mix has helped Zimbabwe ease the strain on the national grid as more corporates and individuals embrace alternative energy sources and this has drastically reduced hours of load shedding. — @nqotshili



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