Zimbabwe energy policy reforms get Southern African Power Pool thumbs up

Story by Stanley James, Business Editor

THE Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) has welcomed the massive energy investments in Zimbabwe saying the move is key to easing power shortages in the region.

The commissioning of the US$1,5 billion Hwange Thermal Power Station 7 and 8 expansion project earlier this month has seen the 12-member SADC regional energy grouping expressing interest in learning more from Zimbabwe’s energy reforms.

With the project adding over 600 Megawatts to the national grid, regional economies under SAPP are also reviewing their energy systems and policy frameworks to improve power supply.

The energy regional grouping’s Coordination Centre Executive Director, Engineer Stephen Dhiwa says Zimbabwe has set the pace for energy developments in the region.

“Certainly, the development of new generation plants through the meeting of the objectives of Zimbabwe with regards to its energy policy has resulted in improved power supply in the region, this comes out at a time when almost eight out of the 12 mainland states in SAPP were in energy deficits, some of them load-shedding, so with the installation of a new generation in Zimbabwe that has put the country in a better position and improved the energy supply, above all the provision of energy from coal even though we know it is coming from what we call unclean energy but we are aware that we need the base load to be able to support the increased penetration of renewable energy and we then support the addition of this base-load which will allow us to fill in the gap when the sun does not shine for solar and when the wind does not blow for wind energy,” he said.

SAPP has also commended the Zimbabwean government for creating a conducive business environment to attract regional and global investors in the energy sector as the region forges ahead with energy reforms.

He added saying,“That has been a very positive development because there has been a challenge in attracting investments in the energy sector in Zimbabwe for the reasons that we all know, but the fact that we have now seen a lot of investors in Zimbabwe resulting in actual projects being developed that have been positive and it has elevated the position of SAPP in its ability to meet energy demands in the region.”

Formed in 1995, the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP) is mandated to harmonise energy solutions in the region.

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