President Emmerson Mnangagwa today said that he had instructed his government to remove all and any entry barriers to new investments in the energy sector so that the country ends power shortages in 2023.
He said his government plans to operate as if Kariba did not exist and aims to produce 2 000 Megawatts from non-hydro power sources.
Zimbabwe needs 1 700 megawatts of power at the moment but this is likely to shoot up because of new mining projects that have just been started.
Writing in his weekly column in the Sunday Mail, which he said is the last for this year, Mnangagwa said that his government is handling the present power crisis with the same focus and intensity it accorded to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Zimbabwe is facing a serious energy crisis following the drastic drop in water levels in the Kariba which should supply 1 100 megawatts but is now producing only 100 megawatts.
Despite its poor health system, Zimbabwe managed to contain the Covid-19 pandemic, recording only 5 622 deaths by 4 December. It had 259 356 cases but 253 241 people recovered.
Mnangagwa said the irony about the current power shortage was that it had been bred by the country’s phenomenal success in growing the economy and in attracting new investments.
“The rapid growth and expansion in both mining and industry, coupled with new investment projects across sectors, has increased demand for power, created a clear mismatch between power generation and supply on the one hand, and power demand and distribution on the other,” he said.
“Nor has nature helped, what with climate change-related progressive decline in water inflows into our Kariba Dam, itself our biggest source of power. As I write, Kariba’s power generation capacity has drastically fallen from its installed capacity of 1100 megawatts to a mere 100 megawatts. Our capacity for thermal power has also fallen due to the aged six generators we developed soon after independence.
“Government has decided to treat this constraint with the same focus and intensity we accorded the Covid-19 pandemic. Extraordinary measures are needed and will be taken in the coming year. With the US$310 million we now have to refurbish and replace old generators 1 to 6 at Hwange, coupled with the coming on stream of generators 7 and 8 early next year, we should see an appreciable improvement in power supply early in the coming year.
“We must now plan for our power generation and supply as if Kariba is discounted from our energy supply matrix, so we have at least 2000 megawatts from non-hydro power sources.
That way, we weather-proof our energy sector and with it, our whole economy. I have already instructed Government to remove all and any entry barriers to new investments in the energy sector.”
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