The Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) has cancelled licences of seven Independent Power Producers (IPPs) that have failed to kick start their projects within stipulated timeframes as it moves to open up space to investors exhibiting the capacity to assist the country to reduce its power deficit.
Zera acting chief executive officer Engineer Eddington Mazambani said the authority has cancelled seven dormant IPPs and would continue with the purge as it moves to ensure the power projects are expedited.
In recent years, the country liberalised its energy sector in a bid to promote the participation of private capital but most of the projects have failed to take off.
“Seven licences have been cancelled to date. The cancellation of licences is a continuous exercise. Zera monitors project implementation on a quarterly basis as provided for in their licence conditions. It is on the basis of these quarterly reviews that Zera identifies non-performers,” said Eng Mazambani although he could not readily name the affected companies.
The energy regulator had to date licensed 61 IPPs with a combined capacity of contributing 6 671,886 megawatts (MW) to the national grid with 19 of those all being solar projects with a total capacity of 547,3MW having been licensed this year.
However, only 16 projects are operating contributing 131,276MW to the grid. Mr Mazambani said it was however, of paramount importance to note cancellation of IPP licences is done in accordance with the laws of the country and as such might take time in some instances.
“It is also important to note that there are procedures to be followed in cancelling licences in-line with Section 51 of the Electricity Act (Chapter 13:19). Cancellation of a licence is therefore a process and not an event,” he said.
The country is battling electricity shortages following a sharp decline in water levels in the Kariba Dam due to erratic rains in the 2018-19 rainfall season, and generation constraints at Hwange Power Station because of ageing equipment.
Zimbabwe and Zambia share less than 1 000MW, which is currently being generated by Kariba Hydro-electric Power Station.- state media