The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (ZERA said yesterday that it has licensed a joint venture between locals and Chinese investors, the Zimbabwe Zhongxin Electrical Energy Private Limited (ZZEE), to establish a coal fired power plant that will produce 50 Megawatts.
The project, to be based in Hwange, joins the long list of independent power projects the energy regulator has licensed over the years.
ZERA has in the past five years licensed over 50 small IPP projects with a capacity to produce around 1 300 MW but most of them remain non-operational due to funding challenges.
The ZZEE license, issued on November 22 this year, allows the firm to operate for 25 years.
“The generation is hereby granted to Zimbabwe Zhongxin Electrical Energy Private Limited ….to construct, own, operate and maintain the 50MW coal-fired thermal power station which would be located at Deka Bridge Farm in Hwange District in Matabeleland North Province for the purposes of generation and supply of electricity,” ZERA said.
The license allows ZZEE to produce and sale electricity to any customers, with ZERA’s permission.
With Zimbabwe battling crippling electricity shortages, the coming to fruition of the project would add the much needed power to the Zimbabwean grid.
Faced with drought that has resulted in reduced power generation at the country’s main hydro-electric station and antiquated equipment at the second biggest plant, the country has a deficit of over 1 000MW that has forced power utility, ZESA Holdings to introduce intensive load shedding schedules of up to 18 hours a day in some areas.
Apart from the new venture, Chinese power company Sinohydro is already expanding the 900 MW Hwange Thermal Power Station to add 600 MW at a cost of 1.5 billion US dollars.
The expansion project, which started in June 2018, is scheduled for completion by mid-2022.-New Ziana/Own